The Festival of Light represents for the Costa Rican an event of great importance, of enthusiasm, of joy, of sharing; a day in which around one million people go out to witness this great event that is characterized by its great color that is combined with the emotion of the arrival of Christmas.
This activity originated in 1966 when the authorities of the San Jose Municipality organized for the first time the first parade of floats which made their journey along the Paseo Colon and the Second Avenue.
The constant strengthening of this activity in quality, beauty, and splendor has made it essential in the Christmas Holidays of Costa Rica to the point of being listed today as the most important popular event of the year, so much so that many international media such like CNN, TELEVISA, UNIVISION, they cover this event, in addition to the country’s television channels.
On this occasion, the 24th edition of the Festival of Light will be celebrated, where the participation of parades with floats, masquerades, cheerleading groups, live music, and fireworks is highlighted.
This activity aims to bring all Costa Rican families closer to the Christmas spirit
The parade of floats begins with pyrotechnic games whose light invades the city of San Jose and is made from the roofs of the tallest buildings in the metropolitan area (roofs of the National Bank, Agricultural Credit Bank of Cartago, the Bank of Costa Rica and the Savannah Park). This marks the beginning of the Festival of Light.
Its route is approximately 3,200 meters, starting from the National Gymnasium and entering the Paseo Colon, west of the capital, then turns to continue through the Second Avenue until you reach the Plaza de la Democracia.
Among some highlights of this event is the awards of floats, whose distinction is given according to the following categories:
- Float that shines brightest.
- Greater originality.
- Greater elegance.
- Better mobile elements.
- Better light effects.
Incorporation of parades to the event
Every year the Festival of Light becomes more attractive for the Costa Rican, so their participation is growing and families usually arrive earlier to locate where they find it most comfortable to witness the show. This generates up to 12 hours of inactivity.
Due to this particularity, the Municipality of San Jose, for the year 2005, when celebrating the X anniversary of the Festival of Light, decides to create “The Festival Pass“, as an alternative to the long time that people had to wait for enjoy the festival This is an art show that highlights the characteristic features of the country’s cultural identity such as joy, color, music, and magic of the Christmas season and is usually an activity that prepares the environment for families to later enjoy the arrival of the floats participating in the Festival.
The Pasacalle tour is the same as the Festival of Light and starts at 3:00 p.m., while the central event starts at 6:00 p.m.
Throughout the incorporation of this activity as a preamble to the Festival of Light, in addition to the presentation of important institutions and folk groups of the country, there have also been the participation of several countries that have come to show a little of their customs, their cultural wealth and part of all those characteristics that identify them. Among those countries we have: Nicaragua, Honduras, Venezuela, and China.
Low-income families will have a stage to witness the Festival
The National Insurance Institute (INS), in addition to participating with a float full of magic and color, will also have a Magic Stage, from which 48 girls, boys, and their families can enjoy the Festival of Light. All this under the motto “Solidarity and inclusion are values that must permeate the Costa Rican coexistence”.
This INS initiative will allow 20 families to live closely a party in which they will bring their warmth and joy to remind us that our aspirations for social development are built for everyone, but privileging those who need it most, said the Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion and Executive President of IMAS, Juna Luis Bermúdez.
These families chosen to enjoy this event are in poverty. It is like a Christmas gift for them and they will be given all the attention they require for that day; food, transportation and, if necessary, lodging.
This December 14, Costa Ricans will have the opportunity to enjoy this great show as a family, where they prepare that spirit of joy, enthusiasm, harmony, and happiness to receive Christmas.