Atenas Oxcart Parade Today!

And this small child stole the show as she led her toy oxen in pulling a toy oxcart!

In fact there seemed to be more of an emphasis on the children this year in what has always been a family affair to celebrate and remember the important part boyeros (oxcart drivers) played in the history of Costa Rica as the first land shippers of coffee and bananas to the two big port cities for shipment to the U.S. and Europe.

The parade still had the colorful oxcarts! And the big oxen!
And most included the whole family as usual. A Family farm affair!
But many were led by children this year as the Oxcart Leader or Boyero.

And a few even had young oxen!

While others had their hands full!

But all accepted their responsibility with pride! 
Goat Carts were in parade this year for the first time, led by kids of course!
Pun intended! 

And there are more Women Boyeros each year! 

And the whole time the Central Park is filled with tents, entertainers, arts & crafts, food & drink vendors, a playground, and plenty to do if you get bored with the parade.

A Rooster on Stilts!
and . . .

. . . and another on foot, representing Gollo, a big furniture/appliance store.

Someone leading the children in games before the parade started.
And of course all the food, drink, balloons, etc. available to buy! 

The parade always starts with police and horses, one carrying the
Costa Rica Flag:

Red, white and blue patriotism!

I watched the parade with 3 friends, Anthony, Jean and Carolyn and then afterwards we went to La Finca for pizza and pasta. A fun day! And if you want to see photos of the bigger oxen being led by men and other views, see my photos from last year’s parade at:  2015 Oxcart Parade  on this blog.

Another happy day in Costa Rica!

Here, Jesus More Popular than Santa!

Nativities are everywhere! Usually called Pasito or Portal here.
Other Spanish names are Nacimiento, Belén, and Pesebre.

I like living where Jesus is more popular than Santa Claus! Though Christmas Trees are around in a few places, especially commercial places, they don’t believe in Santa Claus but rather the baby Jesus, el niño or el niñito who brings some of the Christmas gifts for young children. Read this neat article in Tico Times.  For where gifts come from, Santa is 3rd place after Jesus & Parents in a survey of children!

Tree in Central Park Atenas
Not much! Not a priority!  🙂

It is a religious society and the people even live like followers of Christ! I’m trying not to compare to the States where most of my readers live, but it is tempting!   🙂  The people here are wonderful!

And I do plan to eat at least one tamale this Christmas, a very strong tradition here!

Feliz Navidad!

15th of September Post 4: CULTURAL COLOR

The local agricultural technical school (largest in Central America) had my fave!
This is the traditional dress from post colonial days with men’s in next photo.
Students of Agriculture come here from all over the Americas, including U.S.
I can see some of the school farms used for SFS, Sustainable Field Service
We help improve agriculture all over the Americas!
Beautifully painted oxcarts are a long time tradition here. Two in the parade.

Riding barefoot is a doubtful tradition, though
maybe early youth did so.

Día de la Mascarada or “Traditional Costa Rican Masquerade” (31 October) originated as an adaption of Spanish Carnival. The local band, una cimarróna, strikes up a beat for the masked characters to dance or walk in a parade or fiesta. The next 5 photos are of the masked characters in this particular parade by a school or organization I did not catch the name of: 

A Fire Truck, Bombero, always leads off in every parade, this time
followed by a group of “Future Firemen of Costa Rica”
 or some similar name in Spanish.

Not sure how 3 younger teens got to skate in the parade,
trying to show off, but none of them exceptionally good!
I guess they see this as future or current culture!?


Surfer at Manuel Antonio Beach

And will the World Surfing Games (link to article in English) be held in Costa Rica in 2016? Only if someone comes up with $1 Million Dollars in next two weeks (see article) and it is doubtful the CR government will spend that much. But, after all guys, Costa Rica came away from this year’s contest with the most gold medals! (link to 2015 tournament page)

It is like the national sport for those who live on the Pacific coast and Jaco is considered one of the best surfing beaches in the world. Not my passion, but very interesting! Here’s a surfer shot I made at Manuel Antonio Beach last year in mild waves.

Pura Vida!   And tomorrow, my last installment of Fotographias de 15 de septiembre desfile: CARAS (FACES) – maybe the best parade post!  🙂

“Funeral Train”

Funeral Train in downtown Atenas seen from Central Park

I walked downtown for a light lunch around 1:00 and saw that a funeral was in process, leaving the Atenas Catholic Church facing the central park. Street width for a block+ was shoulder to shoulder people walking behind the flower-covered hearse. A big funeral this time!

The whole traditional process can be read about at Death in Costa Rica or a quick summary by me: Someone dies and within an hour or so every family member and friends knows at warp speed. The body is dressed and prepared for burial while another family member arranges the funeral mass for that day or the next morning if death is late in day. There is no embalming (available but very expensive). There may be a brief wake or visitation before the mass. After the mass is when the above “Funeral Train” begins as a hearse, covered in flowers, slowly drives to the cemetery with everyone following on foot, family members first. There is sometimes some low moaning or crying as they slowly walk to the cemetery.

This is the second funeral train I have come upon. I also posted a photo of the first which was much smaller and in a residential neighborhood.

And in spite of an occasional funeral, Costa Rica is still the Number 1 Happiest Country in the world. I just found another website listing of the happy that put us at #1:
Thanks to Natalie for this one!