Independence Day activities sometimes start early and they did today in front of the city hall across the corner from my bank which had 20+ people waiting for only one working ATM. Pura vida! I got to watch the dancing while I waited and make a few cell phone photos, though lower quality, zoomed in from a half block away. The people are always as interesting as “the show,” thus two little slideshows which is my substitute for the parade I will miss tomorrow.
In our beautiful country of Costa Rica, Mother’s Day is celebrated each year on August 15th. This national holiday, known locally as Día de la Madre, falls on the same day as the Feast of the Assumption, which is the day that Catholics observe the Virgin Mary’s ascension to Heaven when her earthly life was over. For that reason, Mother’s Day is not only a celebration for all mothers, but it is also considered to be a spiritual holiday for many of the residents of Costa Rica.
It is one of the most important holidays in the country with all banks, government offices and schools closed and many businesses (like Aeropost where I was planning to go today!). Right now I hear a band playing in Central Atenas, undoubtedly in honor of Mothers!
Today Ticos give gifts to their Moms in appreciation of the many things they do to raise a family and a newer thing is to take her out to a restaurant for dinner tonight. Today’s article in Tico Times:Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s Day.
I have never been anywhere where everyone (all ages – even teens) are very affectionate to their mothers, such as when walking with Mom in town everyone holds Mom’s hand, even teens! With the very elderly Moms they are arm-in-arm walking through town as if to give her more support. It is a beautiful cultural tradition in a beautiful country full of love!
“Una madre es la fuerza del amor y la gracia que supera y rinde todas las fuerzas del mal.” – Josep Torras
“A mother is the strength of love and grace that surpasses and yields all the forces of evil.” – Josep Torras
Featured Photo is from my terrace this cloudy morning that many mothers will bring a ray of sunshine to! And hopefully their children to them! 🙂
This morning I noticed that the builder’s screen was removed and the new concrete floor was being washed down with a water hose (even though it is raining today). It is taking shape and according to the architect drawings that outer ring of pipes/steel will have some kind of roof on it to protect at least part of the audience for concerts. And the bandshell roof will be painted with some kind of art, I hope the oxcart wheel version! 🙂
One step at a time is all it takes to get you there.
Because it was a special week, I’m doing a second book on Xandari where I celebrated my birthday last week. It was such a colorful week, I titled it “Brilliant!”Follow the link to a free online preview of the book showing 82 of my photos. Or click this smaller image of the book cover below:
The staff had already done so much for me to make my birthday special, but I couldn’t finish dinner without them bringing out a birthday cake and a rendition of Feliz Cumpleaños sung more by another guest than by the waiters. Fun! And now it is finally over! One more birthday! The 79th! Not sure how I can top this for the big 8 – 0! Got a year to decide!
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
It continues to slowly progress even if not fast enough for impatient Americans! 🙂 The center circle (reddish steel) will be the actual stage and the big black circle is the covered part including audience covered seating. They have stopped work again this week so the city can have its annual Climate Fair and Oxcart Parade. They are using all of the space including a temporary round stage in the center. I’m not feeling great this week and opted to miss the festivities, so I will have no photos of the temporary use. Here’s also a photo of the safety signs for the workers on the site. Interesting. 🙂
I had a “bad cold” or actually allergies due to the wind still blowing dust. Got that licked with some good medicine and good advice (close windows when wind blows) from my doctor’s young intern whom I really liked. Then I got up the wrong way from sitting and “popped” my lower back and now dealing with lower back pain. Saw my physical therapist who recommends stretching exercises of course! 🙂 So I kind of dropped the blog for a week or so with lower energy than usual. Next trip is 2 weeks away. Resting now! 🙂
On a walk through Central Park Alajuela the other day I was captivated by a series of large pieces of art about familiar stories in different Spanish-speaking countries. I looked up the title of exhibit (en español) online and discovered that it is part of the XIV International Storytellers Festival sponsored by UTN here in Alajuela with storytellers coming from around the world to share stories in Spanish of course! 🙂
The following is the Google translation (not the best translator) of the short article online at this website:
Within the framework of the Senük Meeting, the Headquarters presented on Wednesday, January 30, a storytelling show as part of the XIV International Storytellers’ Festival Alajuela Ciudad Palabra (FICU).
The International Storytellers’ Fair included 130 artistic shows this year with the participation of 7 international guests and more than 60 national artists who performed at venues in the city of Alajuela, San José and Atenas.
The FICU is organized by the Alajuela City Word Association and the Regional Office of Culture of Alajuela, which is part of the Culture Directorate of the Ministry of Culture and Youth.
Precisely, the headquarters of the UTN was included for the first time, to host one night, the presentation of two outstanding storytellers, who made people laugh and amused the audience with their stories and occurrences: Wilmer Oconitrillo (Costa Rica) and Benjamín Briseño (Mexico).
Oconitrillo presented stories of the Costa Rica of yesteryear, interpreting the way of speaking of our grandparents, with the desire to rescue our roots.
For his part, Briseno, delighted the public with legends and stories that are told in the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico.
The Festival Facebook Page has one post about this exhibition of paintings for the festival. I think I photographed all the large paintings about storytelling in different Spanish-speaking countries representing a favorite story in that country, displayed on trees throughout Central Park Alajuela. As always here, a photo in a gallery can be seen larger by clicking it, which is why I’m not doing as a slideshow:
Here is the schedule of Christmas Festivities at Central Park Atenas with the stage being on government property across the street this year with park being remodeled. Lots of music and a lanterns parade at night plus more with vendor booths set up on the outer edges of the park — remodeling not stopping the Christmas Spirit in Atenas! It will be HAPPY, HAPPY as always and I’m sorry I will miss it this year again as I am traveling for Christmas (Which is a very Tico thing to do!). 🙂
And they just added some more activities for Christmas:
If you click the above image it is larger in its original location
And that is the official Atenas Community fiestas. Every church has at least one Christmas Eve service and the big catholic church multiple masses both days. Many Tico families have 1 to 2 weeks vacation and travel to a beach, usually the week between Christmas and New Years (when most businesses are closed).
Expats vary a lot in what they do. Several always go home to the States, Canada or Europe for Christmas with family. Some have family come here. And the “Snow Birds” came here for their Christmas or multi-months escape from snow and cold weather. Our Expat “Men’s Club” (misnamed) went yesterday (the 16th) to San Ramon for a Dinner Theatre Christmas Madrigal Old English Show or something like that. I went this year and reported yesterday.
Then there’s me – like a real Tico now, I’m going to the beach again but will spend most of my time in the forest at and near Manuel Antonio National Park in a private wildlife refuge and resort called Si Como No, which in español literally means “Yes, of course,” or “Yes, why not?” indicative of the positive spirit of life here in Costa Rica! And I will photograph birds of course! ¡Pura Vida!
Considering a move to Costa Rica? If so, and you find online research confusing or overwhelming, then read this Christopher Howard article on All Over the Map Syndrome. Although he is a little arrogant, he still has the best relocation tour of Costa Rica and his tour combined with the ARCR Seminar is one of the best ways to filter through the onslaught of information you may be finding. I credit those two events with properly preparing me for my successful move here along with a positive attitude and an already established love of the Costa Rica Culture and nature places. Before you move here, visit several times (consider the fun Caravan.com Costa Rica tour) and then go on his “Live In Costa Rica Combination Tour” coupled with the ARCR Seminar and you will be much better prepared. People who just come and try to figure it all out when they get here are usually in the 40% who end up going back to the states, Canada or wherever “home” was before. “Be Prepared!” 🙂
About 30 of us expat retirees in Atenas went north of here by charter bus to San Ramon (hour drive) where we were fed and entertained by a group of expat retirees in San Ramon. We had a very interesting experience of a 14th Century Madrigal Christmas Banquet with all our hosts in period costumes and a wide variety of entertainment with the excellent meal! There was chamber music while we ate plus afterwards period ceremony, stories, singing by our hosts and group singing of Christmas Carols (in English & Spanish!) by all making it a very special Christmas Dinner. THANKS TO THE EXPATS OF SAN RAMON! And to Tony & Rose Mary for putting it together! Gracias! 🙂
Madrigal Dinner Slideshow
Or to see each of the photos individually and larger, go to my 2018 Madrigal Banquet Photo Gallery where you can also download photos if you wish.
Sometimes the people watching the parade are the most interesting thing seen! 🙂 The family portrait above tells a story, I think! And of course the children are always the most photogenic! This slideshow is my last on this year’s Independence Day Parade. See if you can find the 4 people with eyes glued to their device screens (2 are above). Cell phones dominate people around the world! 🙂
And next year I’m adding a new parade by going to the Caribe during Carnival! I’ll photograph the smaller one in Puerto Viejo and not the big one in Limon where I’ve heard it can be dangerous. I don’t want to lose my cameras again! (I was at the Puntarenas Carnival Parade my first year here when my camera bag was snatched from a sidewalk cafe.) But anyway, more parades coming!
¡Larga vida a Costa Rica!
Slideshow: Independence Day Parade Atenas – Audience