There are approximately 3.2 million Roman Catholics in Costa Rica; which is about 76% of the total population. So for Costa Ricans, religious celebrations are a very important aspect of their lives, and its Semana Santa or Holy Week that is the most important.
In general it’s family and community time that is important to Costa Rican’s, so during Semana Santa they gather to participate in religious celebrations, or migrate out to the beaches for a vacation and to celebrate.
This is the week that many beaches like Jaco, the most popular and closest beach to San Jose, become over run with Tico’s from the Central Valley. This is a time when you often see the expats leaving their beach towns, and heading for inland destination in the mountains and the Central Valley.
Semana Santa is a time of parades, processions, good food, festivals and of course fireworks. Without a doubt Semana Santa is one of the most important holidays of the year. Ticos, who will have a feasta at the drop of a hat, revel in a week off of work to relax with family and friends.
During the traditional church celebrations, participants dress and act out the various roles of Jesus’ journey toward the cross. Common parts enacted are Roman soldiers, angels, Mary Magdalene, Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary, the apostles and Jesus. The Semana Santa processions are very serious events and you will find them in most cities, town and villages throughout the country with spectators lining the streets to mourn, pray and celebrate.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Tico holiday without going to see bull fights, another favorite activity during Semana Santa. Unlike many bull fighting traditions, Costa Rican’s do not injure the bulls – no bloodshed, except for a few unfortunate toreros (bull fighter/runners and riders). Rodeos are a big party with dancing and fireworks – and fun for the whole family!
2015 Official Semana Santa holidays in Costa Rica:
2 April 2015 (Thu) Maundy Thursday National
3 April 2015 (Fri) Good Friday National