After returning yesterday from a week-long trip to the States, there was a noticeable buzz of activity in preparation for the Easter Holiday. There are quite a few differences in celebration, and I’m excited about experiencing the next few days here in our town of Atenas.
The first noticeable difference is the increase of Fuerza Publica (police force). As the four-day weekend has begun, many Ticos are taking advantage and the increase in traffic today was insane (especially towards the beach). A few other eventful things to look forward to include a parade tomorrow, some reenactments both tomorrow (Good Friday) and Saturday, then finally Resurrection Sunday at church.
The police are out in great numbers to enforce certain laws. This week there have already been 10 deaths due to accidents, including traffic, drowning, and two other causes. And I’m sure that number will increase (hopefully not extremely).
The Catholic Church will have a procession that is very somber. The townspeople gather in the church and spill out across the street and fill the Central Park. We may walk uptown to watch.
A strange practice that I’m not sure about is the “burning of Judas.” Throughout the neighborhoods and communities, residents create “Judas” effigies of wood, straw, paper, and other materials. They hang them from trees and set them on fire. Riotous behavior has accompanied some of these activities in the past, so we may just observe from afar.
Yesterday was the last day to buy alcohol. Police are also out and about to enforce that no one purchases any alcohol until the Holiday is over. A friend said that the bars in town were overcrowded last night. The gas stations also close. The bus service does not run either. I think that’s why there was so much traffic today. Everyone is trying to get to where they are going to be for the weekend.
Sunday morning, we are picking up Cristopher, Flor, Alex, and Sofia so we all can attend Iglesia Biblica. Then we’ll come back home to enjoy lunch. In the past it has usually been ham or turkey. This year it will be lasagna (Flor’s request). Since there were none to be found, there will be no baskets or chocolate bunnies this year. Steve did actually find some chocolate bunnies at AutoMercado. They were 15,000 colones each ($30). So, we’ll just enjoy “regular” candy this year. I did bring back some PEEPS from the States.
Yeah, I’d say the comparison of Easter in Costa Rica and the US is quite different when it comes to celebration through traditions. However, faith is faith, and we are looking forward to celebrating the Resurrection. The differences really don’t matter.