Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Traditions From Costa Rica

Everyone has there own family traditions and customs that center on the celebration of Christmas. My family has a mix of Spanish, Native American, Mexican and Costa Rican. My mom and her entire family moved from Costa Rica to the United States when she was 8. I thought I would share some traditions from Costa Rica.

Even though the temperature will be warmer than here in Arizona, they still decorate with the winter wonderland theme. Here is a cutie with their local snowman.

Christmas in Costa Rica
During Christmas in Costa Rica, people like to decorate their houses with beautiful tropical flowers. A model of the nativity scene, called the Pasito or Portal, is the center of the display. It's also decorated with flowers and sometimes fruit. Some of the scene take a long time to make and all the family is involved. As well as the traditional figures, people add other models including houses and lots of different sorts of animals.

Christmas wreaths are made of cypress branches and are decorated with red coffee berries and ribbons. Most homes, shops and important buildings are decorated with Christmas lights.

On Christmas Eve, everyone puts on their best clothes and goes to Midnight Mass. In Costa Rica it's called the 'Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster); it's also called that is Spain.

After Midnight Mass the main Christmas meal is eaten. It normal includes chicken and pork tamales that have been wrapped for cooking in plantain leaves. To drink there's lots of egg nog and rum punch! mom never mentioned the rum punch. Need to google some recipes (just to keep up the tradition!)

After Christmas, and into January, there are lots of fiestas, parades, rodeos, street parties, bull runs and choral and dance festivals. On 26th December (Boxing Day) there is an important horseback parade called the Tope. The next on the the 27th, many towns and cities have 'Carnaval' with a big parade featuring dancing and big floats. Here is an image from the big parade.

Paper crafting and scrapbooking is a hobby of memories. Learning and understanding some of the traditions that the memories are based on is very interesting. A lot of blogs and Facebook postings are centered on a daily activity in preparation for Christmas. One suggestion I would have for any day of the year is have you and your child sit down with a grandparent or great-grandparent and ask questions about their childhood. Love those memories. Feliz Navidad!!

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