Celebrating Costa Rica's Folklore
We are going to start featuring guests posts about places now and then. If you'd like to contribute, drop me a line.
Ciudad Colon, San José, Costa Rica, Sunday, August 13th, 2017, two days before the celebration of Mother's Day, we went to visit the "fiestas patronales": these are yearly religious festivities in honour of the saint patron of the town, similar to a state fair. In Ciudad Colón these sorts of fairs were held in August but they stopped for a while, so it was exciting to see them back.
This post might contain affiliate links. See my disclaimer for more.
Costa Rica is a tropical paradise and we only experience two seasons: dry, or summer (Verano) which goes from November through April; and the rainy season from May through October. August is especially wet so we were in luck since the day was just overcast.
We reached the event right on time for the "tope" which is nothing more than a horse parade. We were happy to see that all the horses looked healthy and well cared of. Besides this, there were bumper cars and some carnival rides, like the Kamikaze. Seeing these rides made me remember one time I was in high school and took a ride in the Kamikaze with a class mate. He had his cellphone in his pocket which fell down when the Kamikaze was upside down, of course, we laughed about it afterwards! I also remember how popular the bumper cars were, so much that people used to fight to get one! After that, we would go for some cotton candy or some other sweet treat. We used to have fun but we are not in high school anymore, so this kind of activity is now just an opportunity to unwind. I still like to ride the bumper cars, but now I go with my 5-year-old nephew.
One of the most notorious traditions of my country are the "mascaradas". It's an old tradition that comes from colonial times. The mascaradas are big-head masks of characters from local legends, like "La Giganta", or "El Padre sin Cabeza", or even personalities, like government members or fictitious characters from tv shows or movies. They walk through town chasing people and "dancing" with the music from "cimarronas", a group of people who play traditional songs. They are usually an attraction for children, they run after them, trying to not be caught. Cimarronas also play sometimes at 5 am and this is known as "Diana", to wake up the town and let them know there are festivities that day. People usually follow the cimarrona, so you can see lots of people walking behind them.
Now let's talk about my favourite topic: food! You can always find traditional foods like rice with chicken, "chorreadas", which a kind of tortilla made out of sweet corn and can be eaten with "natilla" or butter. You can also find two popular and very traditional dishes, both of them using pork meat: "vigorón" and "chifrijo"; the "vigorón" is made with fried pork skin and goes accompanied by tomato salad, lemons and yuca. The chifrijo also uses pork meat but this goes with rice, beans, tomato salad and lemon. Some people like to add fried toasted tortillas and avos.
My favourite street food are the "pinchos": these are sort of a kebab made with chicken, beef or pork; and for those fond of sweets, there are churros, cotton candy, churro balls filled with "dulce de leche" or condensed milk, candied apples, Swiss crackers, which are very thin crackers filled with condensed milk or dulce de leche, and sweet pop corn. I always go for the churros, especially the ones filled with dulce de leche, they are my weakness! If you are thirsty you can try "jugo de caña", which is a very sweet juice made out of sugar cane; it is refreshing, natural and perfect for hot days.
To end the activities of the day, there is always fireworks at night. Luckily, we have a very dedicated committee in charge of bringing cultural activities to the town, so we are entertained until next year when the fair returns.
Costa Rica Campesino Farm Tour - $69.00