This year, 2022, has been a year of great beginnings in Costa Rica, in all aspects, but there is a very special one and that is that for the first time officially people were able to celebrate Thanksgiving, that is, the country joined the tradition of the United States.
It is worth noting that the fact comes from Law 10179, promoted by former deputy Jonathan Prendas and approved by the legislators of the previous administration in 2021, which also establishes that the last Thursday of November of each year can be celebrated.
For Prendas, the Law aims to encourage tourism since it goes hand in hand with the high season, especially to unite and strengthen Costa Rican families. He very well made it clear, when the Law was approved, that it is “a specific moment to thank God, not only for what we have obtained, but for what we are going through at this moment and what we are going to have”.
Apparently, the commemoration could have gone unnoticed among the majority of the population this year, but it is a matter of getting used to or becoming fond of the festivity, since it is not entirely cultural in Costa Rica. As such, in the Central American country it is not a holiday, the celebration of Thanksgiving is not mandatory.
According to the Costa Rican analyst, Daniel Suchar, the American population in Costa Rica already celebrated this day, since it is a tradition that they themselves bring from their country of origin. In his opinion, the Law, what is going to do is -give a kind of honorability- to an important day for the United States, as well as for them it is also special dates with Christmas and the 4th of July, the American Independence Day.
Prendas assures that everything is part of an economic reactivation plan for the country, because it is one of the five that hosts or receives the most Americans on Thanksgiving Day.
Figures from the United States Embassy in Costa Rica
Those who represent the United States embassy in Costa Rica indicated that 64% of the tourists who “visited us only in 2021 were Americans.” It is worth noting that the embassy considers that the country is an important destination for American retirees and tourists.
They even estimate that before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 120,000 private US citizens, including many retirees, resided in the country; and more than 1.3 million US citizens visit Costa Rica annually.
The celebration of Thanksgiving Day is, as we mentioned before, of American origin. Its history dates back to 1620 when a colony of English migrants known as the Pilgrims settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts with the idea of finding religious freedom outside of Europe.
From the date, this celebration was strengthened until today it is one of the most important that North Americans celebrate. So much so that every end of November at least 50 million people in the United States travel to their relatives’ houses to commemorate it and turkey is the traditional food for family dinner. What a good initiative to honor US citizens living in Costa Rica, it is something new for many, I am sure that as the years go by interest will increase and more visitors will come to Costa Rica.