Life, that on any ordinary day seems to be engulfed in a million hitches and escape from them is what everyone yearns for, suddenly finds its significance once a misfortune strikes. The essence of life, its true worth is what the Festival of Lights celebrates. The Festival of Lights, famously known as Festival de la Luz kicks off the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in the second week of December. It invites people of the world to join Costa Ricans as they pay tribute to life ahead by remembering the life we share at the present. To light a flame, a lantern or a float in this festival depicts the re-awakening and revival of existence, which is in itself a beautiful thought.
Hosted by the Municipality of San Jose since 1996, this event takes place annually on the second Saturday of December. This is the beginning of the party, that won’t show signs of fading until the first of January.
The festivity takes a roll in the late afternoon when eager groups of local and international friends and families make their in the streets of San Jose to witness the grandest parade of the world from Paseo Colon to El Parque de la Democracia. The parade is adorned by lights, every color, form and size one can possibly imagine. The festival displays floats that are out-of-the-world amazing, masquerade shows, music, street dancers, marching primary and high school bands and fireworks. Every year almost 1500 musicians participate in the festival and it brings over a million spectators from all around the world. The parade is led by an elected Grand Marshall that has included the famous star Costa Rican Olympic swimmer, Claudia Paul and up and current talents like Maria Jose Castillo.
The floats and the bands are the key attraction of the festival amidst all the lights. The floats are sponsored by names that need no introductions like Coca Cola, Banco de Costa Rica, Glaxon Smith Kline, Children’s Hospital Claro, HSBC, ICE and Importador Monge. The best floats are judged and awarded at the end of the parade on how well they are presented and the audience response. The primary and high school bands performance is yet another thing to watch out. These bands look forward to the festival all year round and they too are acknowledged at the end with prizes for the best bands judged on bases of their music, performance and costumes.
Its national and international recognition is proven by the fact that the parade is telecasted live by television channels of various states and the proud Costa Ricans get to spread the message of honoring life to the fullest, globally. The event is monitored by over a thousand security officials and alcohol is strictly banned during the festival.
Apart from all the performances and parade, tourists are offered tours around the beautiful city of San Jose, to see the sights of The Rain Forest Canopy, Turu Ba Ri and are given a chance to meet the local band members. The Festival of Lights gives the best start of holiday fever in Costa Rica and it is strongly recommended to be a part of this overwhelming and awe-inspiring festival of the year.
Address: Municipality of San Jose, Costa Rica.