Come and Enjoy the “Zapote Festivities” of San José in This Holiday Season!

    Much Fun for All, in This One-of-a-Kind Popular Celebration

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    Zapote is a district of the canton of San José, located east of the city. They have a special holiday celebration that takes place from Christmas day until the 1st week of January.  During it, a large bullring called the “Zapote Redondel” (circle) is set up, and it is where the very unique “Tica” kind of bullfights are held. In our country, the participant animal is not harmed. Like in some places of Spain, the bull usually is involved in several celebrations, in which usually one of these animals acquires certain fame.

    In the “Fiestas de Zapote”, the bull that gains the most fame is the so-called “Toro Malacrianza” (bad behavior’s bull). Actually, there is always a massive attendance at these spectacles. The arena is usually crowded with spectators and, at the outside, the famous “Chinamos” fair booths are placed, where you can indulge in food, drink, music, and dance. In our country, everybody loves dancing. Another great aspect of this fair is that there are attractions and entertainment for both adults and children.

    Mechanical attractions at the Zapote Festivities: fun for everyone

    It is very curious about the combination of the Christmas feeling with the sensation of being at a summer festival, making it a unique experience. Go to a “Chinamo” and sip a “fría” (beer) and eat some “chicharrón” (fried pork). We can also taste other interesting dishes such as arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), chop suey, fried chicken and, of course, our delicious “tamales”.

    The Popular Zapote Festivity is a traditional annual celebration which is celebrated at the end of each year in the Josefino district of Zapote. They take place in the last week of December and the first of January. Along with the Fiestas de Palmares, the Fiestas de Zapote are extremely popular and coincide with the Christmas holiday period here in Costa Rica.

    The main attractions of these celebrations are the chinamos, bars, amusement parks, and bullfights tico style, in which occasionally or very rarely some people are left wounded by the bulls. The Fiestas de Zapote owes its name to the place where they are held, just in a fairground located on the border of the cantons of San José and Curridabat.

    In 2006, after 37 uninterrupted years of celebration since 1969, the Municipality of San José suspended the Fiestas because it was considered a high-risk public gathering. But as of 2007, the Festivities have presented greater control regarding security, distribution of premises, and organization. The Fiestas de Zapote is one of the most popular traditions in the country, and it is estimated that during 2016 and 2017 more than 25,000 people attended the festivities daily.

    Where does this tradition come from?

    This celebration corresponds, actually, to the town fairs called “turnos” that are usually held in all parts of our country, commemorating the ending of one year and the beginning of another one. But in the town of Josefina de Zapote, located a few minutes from downtown San José, this tradition takes on bigger proportions.

    Attending the fairground is an amalgam of customs and traditions, as well as a picturesque journey through the idiosyncrasy that identifies us as a nation. Everything that is done here seduces the visitor. These activities are so popular that Costa Rica’s main television channel does not miss the opportunity to broadcast them live.

    Part of its great popularity is due to the time of year in which it is held. Also, there has to be taken into account the enormity of the venue grounds, since it has more than 8 thousand square meters, with endless entertainment options for all ages.
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