Easter Week in Costa Rica is the most sincere religious celebration of the year. Since, Costa Rica is a Catholic state this event is a major and significant occasion. It’s a holiday that balances all the other crazy festive events and is complete with the essence of religious conviction, family gatherings and holiday food.
The Easter Holy Week also called Semana Santa times itself from Palm Sunday to the Easter Sunday. This week which marks the last one of Lent has been celebrated since 1526. Semana Santa remembers the last week of life of Jesus before his crucifixion on Good Friday and rebirth on Easter Sunday. During the week workload at all educational institutes, government offices and businesses is reduced and the Holy Thursday and Good Friday are officially declared holidays.
Semana Santa instigates with the remembrance of the ceremonial entry of Jesus into the Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The story is in acted by the parishes as Jesus enters the Jerusalem on a donkey and the people hail him by waving branches of palm trees. On Holy Thursday, the Ticos revive the memory of Jesus pronouncing his coming pain and death. The main events are the walk of silence to church where the last supper headed by Jesus is revived.
Good Friday is the earnest and most intricate day of the Holy Week. It marks the arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. Everyone from the community makes way for the historic procession. The route is laid out and 14 posts are marked where a paragraph from the gospel is read out loud. Such dramatization is well rehearsed and smooth. It has characters of cross carrying Jesus, court, the Roman soldiers, his followers and the thieves. The part of crucifixion brings along sorrow which ends the day’s march and is organized at a place where maximum can gather.
Holy Saturday is the day Jesus rests in grave and Judas Night is celebrated when dark in places where it’s not banned. It’s an event that can bring about commotion and fear among the people. It recalls the Saturday night before Easter when people played pranks and stole things from homes to burn down in front of the church. Finally, Easter Sunday comes along. It’s the day Jesus was resurrected. It’s a quiet event and more of a family affair where people come together and have good food although the processions of rebirth are played in churches with joy. All the events are televised in the week and those who are not able to go, can watch these beautifully organized processions at home.
Also, food plays a big part of this holiday. The favorites are a soup that is made from dried cod fish called bacalao, and chiverres which is made by cooking enormous pumpkins into jam. Pan Casero, sweet flat bread is also one of the week’s highlights. Every dish is sided with vegetable pickles, palm salad and tuna salad. The use of liquor is prohibited during the week. However Ticos make a special hot drink called Chicha from cinnamon and ginger.
Easter Week in Costa Rica is truly an unforgettable affair. This occasion provokes reflection in the people instead of pleasure. Therefore, people invest their time in prayers, meditation and confessions. Be sure to become a part of it when you vacation in Costa Rica and witness the religious and spiritual side of Ticos as well.