La Semana Santa

Yesterday we had a unique visitor across the river – a 2′ long brow basilisk.

While I was enjoying my book on the deck, a biography of misunderstood Marie Antoinette, I see across the river what looks like a dead, brown banana leaf on a rock. It was indeed the first large (exotic) creature we’ve seen in the Central Valley and got us pretty worked up for the next hour.

The interesting part, or more coincidental really, is that this lizard is more commonly known around here as the “Jesus Lizard” as it can run across water. Quite special seeing it now, during La Semana Santa.

I am not a believer in conventional religion. I do think that each religion generally has some good ideas and that we all should be living in accordance to basic moral principles. Here in Costa Rica, a Catholic dominated society, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is more important than the actual birth of Christ.

La Semana Santa is Holy week here, celebrated the seven days preceding Easter Sunday. Celebrations typically include an increase in mass services, parades of religious figures, and social activities. Many ticos leave the Central Valley for la playa, leaving the city streets empty. Most local businesses, like out beloved La Casona Del Laly, will be closed the entire week, opening again the Monday following Easter Sunday. Public services will also be closed Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, resuming Saturday.

Gringo places, or tiendas relying solely on tourista dollars, will most-likely remain open.

Traditionally during Lent, as far as I understand being a mere observer, alcohol, meat, and sweets are avoided. These restrictions interfere with modern lives, mainly addressing the youth as most of the older generations of Central American Catholics are still strict observers. Meats are replaced with fish during this time and alcohol only is only prohibited from being sold Thursday and Friday of Holy Week. This is actually a law, the ‘Dry Law’, (most likely because Catholicism is intertwined in the Costa Rican government). This I hear is quite the spectacle. As banks will have long lines until their closure today at 3:45, grocery and liquor store sales will presumably sky-rocket. Come Thursday, the grocery stores will have yellow tape blocking alcoholic beverages and bars will be closed and taped off entirely.

Now, you may have noticed that alcohol sales are not prohibited on the actual anniversary of Christ’s supposed resurrection. To the Ticos, the most important days are Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I hope to learn more about this over the next few days, possibly see some of the processions. I also look forward to the supposed decrease in traffic and noise… do you think the neighborhood dogs will get the hint? Stay tuned for updates!


Sometime between the final editing and publishing of this post, we had another visitor. A tarantula. In the house. He was spared, taken to be someone’s new pet, but not without some freaking out. This was at 1 am. By 2 am, he was gone and we were quickly deciding how much longer we’ll be in Costa Rica. I guess we should thank Mr. Tarantula; we made more decisions last night than we have all month in regards to poker and Costa Rica…


3 responses to “La Semana Santa

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSIE! Miss you guys so much this time of year. But even we won’t be going to grandma’s as we are making the trek to Midland to spend Easter and time with Erin on her birthday. So we are going to church in Mesick, which I asked your mom, Carly and your Dad to join us at our new Tabranacle in the Mesick commons. Then we will leave for Midland. Is there anything you could use from Beauti Control that I could send you for your b-day that you would like or need yet? I have a whole new catelogue I could send you. Maybe you could start a new thing down there like Mya did in Purto Rico and created a Million dollar buisness for herself because they did not have as nice of make-up as we have so readily available. Happy Easter, and have a great Birthday!!!!!! Love and miss ya. Aunt Kimmy xoxoxoxoxooxo

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