Visit any new country and you’ll soon encounter the traditions which make the country unique from everything else. In terms of your trip, tradition in Costa Rica is one of those things which you know is there but you don’t have to pay much attention to it if you don’t want to. Ticos are very laid back and they aren’t fussed over tradition when it comes to visitors.
The Gender System
Young people in Costa Rica are less concerned about tradition than the older generation. This country enjoys a healthy mix of the present and the past. The gender system is something which has endured in some form. Many women do choose a life of family and children over career.
It doesn’t mean they’re somehow beneath men. It would be a foolish mistake to believe so. The Tico version of this tradition is the genders are both to be respected, but they have different roles in life.
You will still find exceptions to this rule. Many Tico women are career women with very important positions in the government and at the forefront of business.
Religion still makes up most of the traditions in the country. You’ll find many festivals with religious undertones. The main religious events you’ll encounter are Easter Week, the Virgin of the Angels celebration in August, and Christmas Week. You’ll also find each part of the country has its own patron saint, which is celebrated throughout the year.
It isn’t the same as religious traditions elsewhere. It’s a mix of partying and religious worship. Even if you aren’t religious you can participate in the various processions and gatherings.
Pura Vida is the unofficial motto of Costa Rica. You can see this reflected in many of the traditions (read more about Tico traditions). Let’s use Easter Week as an example. People in San Jose are generally split into two camps.
We have the people who embrace their religious fervour by attending mass and other ceremonies. The rest are the sort of people who embrace Pura Vida and visit the beach for the week. They see this time as a time to relax.
Both interpretations of Easter Week are perfectly valid and gain equal precedence in Tico society.
Aquinaldo is the tradition where employers reward all their employees for their hard work. It comes in September just before the main Christmas celebrations start. It’s actually required by law. The amount can vary, but most employers award the equivalent of an extra month’s pay. This applies to all working adults, no matter if they’re working in restaurants or at the height of industry.
How Should You Respond?
Tradition in Costa Rica can be difficult to respond to. Throughout the year, most Ticos live very relaxed lives where they just enjoy watching life take its course. The three major times of year for celebration are where the traditions are brought to life and everyone enters an ejaculation of joy.
You should respond to this in whatever way you see fit. Pura Vida still applies, so if you choose to retreat into the jungles or dance at the festivals you will be welcomed with open arms!
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By Lisa melia
Lisa is a freelance travel and health writer, with a special interest in Costa Rica and it’s diversity of cultures, landscapes and wild life to name just a few.