Christmas in Costa Rica

By: Brooke Stockstill

Feliz Navidad

Christmas in Costa Rica

Traditional Christmas Foods in Costa Rica,

For almost all Costa Rican families they have pork or beef tamales. For their drink there is lot’s of eggnog and rum punch.

The Symbol of Santa

In Costa Rica, there Santa is often Nino Dios (child God , meaning Jesus). There is also ‘Colacho (another name for Saint Nicholas).


Symbols/decorations Representing Christmas

Some symbols are tropical flowers. A model of the nativity scene, called the pasito or portal, is the center of the display. It’s also decorated with flowers and sometimes fruit. They also add to the nativity scene, traditional figures. People add other models like houses and lots of different sorts of animals. Also, the Christmas tree in front of the Children’s Hospital is the most important and symbolic Christmas tree in Costa Rica.


How do they say Merry Christmas?

In Costa Rica, they say Merry Christmas as Feliz Navidad. They say Feliz Navidad because Feliz means happy or merry. Navidad means Christmas, so if you put that together it means Merry Christmas. It can also be Happy Christmas because Feliz also means happy.


What are their Christmas traditions in Costa Rica

The month of December is always full of festivals and get-togethers with family and friends, delicious food, and traditions. Decorations are everywhere, christmas trees to lights in homes and on streets. Once the festivals, parades, carnivals, and parties in December are over, the ceremony to the Christmas season is in January. Neighbors then get together for the “Rosario del Niño”, a prayer for Baby Jesus, as a way to thank him for everything during the year.


How long does the Christmas celebration last?

Christmas day is on December 25th. It is one of the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. It celebrates the day Jesus was born. During December and into January, there are lots of fiestas, parades, rodeos, street parties, bull runs, and choral and dance festivals.


Why does Costa Rica celebrate Christmas?

Many of them are very catholic, so since Jesus was born on December 25th, which is also Christmas, that is why they celebrate Christmas. We also celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born on the 25th, so we have the same reason they celebrate Christmas.


Is music part of the Christmas celebration?

Yes, music is a big part of Costa Rica’s Christmas celebration.

It is especially used at special occasions for Christmas or really any holliday.

These special occasions are fiestas, parades, rodeos, street parties, bull runs, and choral and dance festivals.


Does Costa Rica have goodies for there “santa” like we leave cookies?

On Christmas Eve, children leave their shoes out for Niño Dios, the Baby Jesus, to fill, although he is gradually being displaced by the more commercial Santa Claus (called San Nicolás or Colacho).


Does Costa Rica have a white Christmas?

In Costa Rica, Christmas is not white but windy. There’s no snow, but it’s the best time of the year, not only for the blue skies and cold nights, but also for the happiness that’s in the air. Once the dry season begins and vacations start, it can be said that Christmas is around the corner.

Does they exchange gifts?

Gift giving in Costa Rica, is a choice, and is more for business type. The price range for your gift should be somewhere between $10 and $50, and it's very important to always have the gift wrapped in nice paper. Keep in mind that thank you notes holds high importance here, and should never be overlooked.

Do they play Games at Christmas?

Yes, they do play games on Christmas. They play the games that they get for as a present. Christmas Day is a special day for children to get gifts to play with.


Do they put up a Christmas tree?

The Children’s Hospital Christmas tree lighting ceremony is a countrywide symbol of the holidays in Costa Rica and a meaningful moment for its more than 200 hospitalized children. The tree is decorated with more than 25,000 – 2,000 LED compliant- Christmas lights from 8 different colors and topped with a star.




Does Costa Rica’s “Santa” come down the chimney?

In Costa Rica, Santa Claus doesn't bring the Christmas gifts to the kids. The gifts those are brought by Baby Jesus the night before Christmas called la "Noche Buena" while they are sleeping. At the same as the Baby Jesus appears at the portal the gift appears under the tree the 25th in the morning. The Portal is the model of the birth of Jesus, with the figures of Mary, Joseph, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar (the three wise men), the ox and the mule. The most important figure is the Baby Jesus this is set on the manger the 25th. The day that the Christmas presents are opened. That day all the people that live in the same house get together around the tree and pray, thanking Baby Jesus for the good year that has passed, they also open the gifts.

Christmas bull runs in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica this is one of the things they do around Christmas it is bull running. They also do many more things like fiestas, and dance parties. There is lot's of stuff to do there during the Christmas holiday.

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