A quiet morning walk, a special breakfast, the songs of birds in my trees, and a bouquet of lilies in my house replace my old traditions of Easter Eggs for the children and a “dressed up” Easter Worship in a Baptist Church for most of my life. That old tradition is not me now.
This majority Catholic country has both traditions and superstitions that I explored those first few years here. This week’s Tico Times online article Processions and Superstition Mark Easter Week in Costa Rica describe only some of those and my blog posts & galleries linked below describe even more.
Its a beautiful sunny day in Atenas, Costa Rica for Easter Morning with the Yigüirro singing his heart out for the rains to come (any day now) though I cannot photograph him or any birds for several weeks now because of the high winds. The birds are hiding in the thick trees for protection from the wind. Thus I resort to Easter Flower Photos! 🙂
¡Felices Pascuas! – Happy Easter! Scarlet Macaw flying above Tambor Bay, Costa Rica this past Christmas.
Note to those not on the mission team coming here this week: I am sharing one of my Costa Rica photos with an inspirational Scripture verse each day in an email during the last week before they get here this Thursday. 9 old friends from Nashville First Baptist Church. This is the photo/verse I share with them today. Happy Easter to you also! He is risen!
“In the Catholic and Episcopal churches, purple is the symbol of royalty,” said the Rev. Garry White, pastor of Orangeburg Lutheran Church. “It’s also a symbol of bruising and suffering. That is the color that is used during the season of Lent. In the week immediately prior to Easter on Good Friday, a lot of churches will take the purple cloth down and put up a black cloth as a more stark reminder of Jesus’ death.”
The placement of a white cloth on the cross on Easter Sunday represents the purity and wholeness demonstrated through Christ’s resurrection, White said.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live
This year it was held at end of the 4:00 PM Mass, meaning around 5:30 as it is starting to get dark and threatened rain this time. The last time I watched it was two years ago after the 9 AM Mass. And last year I was in Nicaragua and observed two Easter Week processionals that were really different. Here are links to those posts:
EASTER BUNNY? And for Easter I have yet to see a rabbit here, though one website says there are 3 species of forest rabbits. The more common agouti twitches his nose like a rabbit, but he’s actually a rodent! 🙂
EASTER IS EITHER RELIGIOUS OR BEACH HOLIDAY FOR TICOS Easter is purely a religious holiday here officially almost equal with Christmas in importance but purely for the focus on Jesus, not spoiling children with candy. (They spoil them other ways!) I’ll try to get some photos to share from the Easter Mass Processional tomorrow which is big deal everywhere. It used to be a “Dry Week” with no alcoholic beverages sold nation-wide, by law! Now it is up to local communities and is not enforced in the dry cantons.
Click thisOne tourist guide to being here for Easter (Semana Santa or Holy Week) with a list of other major holidays included. It is important to know before visiting here because many Ticos travel for many holidays, especially this week, and especially to the beaches, meaning the highways are literally bumper to bumper. It took us twice as long as usual to get to Tarcoles Thursday because of this. I would never go to a beach during Semana Santa (Holy Week). Think Spring Break!
The Priest leads congregation behind the costumed children and statue of Christ. Iglesia Catolica San Rafael De Atenas, Costa Rica After the 9 AM Easter Mass, April 5, 2015
I finally did it! I went to the beautiful Catholic Church for worship instead of the evangelical church I have been attending and it was wonderful, though still in Spanish and not generally understood. The standing room only 9:00 AM Mass had an unseen choir of young voices leading the congregation in singing a few songs/hymns/choruses accompanied by a single acoustic guitar. Beautiful! I will never miss the loud, rock-style “Praise Band” here or anywhere else. The music was so much more worshipful at the Catholic Church – but I’m not yet ready to become a Catholic! There was a small processional into the service and a grand one afterwards that led the whole congregation around the Central Park as shown in the photos.
Altar Boys and Girls Lead the Processional
Followed by a statue of the Risen Christ
A haphazard collection of unorganized shepherd boys (disciples?) with family members and others following along with them (The Mamas did great job on costumes! Probably Dads who didn’t organize them.)
And the girls, the only organized ones marching in a straight line (Love the girls!)
Followed by the priest and as many of the congregation who wanted to follow the march around the central park block (on left).
The 9:00 AM Standing Room Only Easter Mass before procession. There were also masses at 6 AM, 11 AM, and 5 PM Sorry about low-light cellphone photo – It is really beautiful! The room was made for worship and prayer. It helps you to do so. Someday I’ll get a good photos inside with tripod, etc.
Another interesting observation was that there were many more young adults and children than old people, which might have been related to the time and/or processional with children included. Never counted, but the Iglesia Biblica worship services seem to be about 50/50 older/younger adults with most children leaving after the hour song service for a children’s church. Both congregations are very family oriented with even teens sitting with their parents. This mass was a little over an hour long while the evangelical service is always at least two hours long with more than an hour of music and a 45 minute sermons, while the priest’s was maybe 15 minutes. Both churches are made up of very happy, friendly people, typical of Costa Rica!
CHECKED OUT A LOCAL HOTEL
After this Easter Morning experience, I walked the half block to La Caretta’s for a brunch omelette to supplement my earlier bowl of cereal. Then walked to the upscale Roca Verde housing development and the nearby Colinas del Sol Hotel to check it out in case any future visitors want something different from my house or the Vista Atenas B&B I have already used. Colinas is larger, offers more services, and is within walking distance of the Central Park – for me, at about 12 blocks estimate. But Vista Atenas has the best view! You just can’t easily walk from there, up on a mountain top 2+ miles. And of course one person or a couple can stay for free in my guest room like Kevin just did with both view and within walking distance!