Many in the US celebrated Columbus Day today. Not so here in Costa Rica. It was a regular day. Columbus Day is October 12th on the calendar, but was observed today in the US. Banks, schools, and everything else went on as usual today, although the US Embassy was closed.
Columbus (Cristobal Colon in Spanish) landed on the east coast of Costa Rica on his final voyage in 1502. The currency here is named after him, the colon (1,000 colones are roughly the equivalent of $2.00). Although there is some regard for Columbus, the holiday is not named after him.
The holiday will still be observed, but it is called something else. Just as some States in the US celebrate Columbus Day by a different name (Native American Day/Indigenous People’s Day or Discover’s Day), Costa Rica will celebrate it as Día del Enceuntro entre las Culturas (The Day of Encounter between Cultures). They want to include all peoples that have had a role in the make up of this nation, not just European and American countries. They wish to involve the indigenous spread throughout the country (such as the BriBri and Cabecar), African (Jamaican) along the Caribbean coast, and Asian cultures as well.
Next Monday, October 15th, will be the legal holiday. Public and private schools, government offices, most businesses, and the US Embassy (again) will be closed. I hope it doesn’t interfere with Steve and David making their trip back home by bus from the airport. Or it may just mean that it will take them longer to get through customs and immigration.
So, to my friends of various cultures both here and in the States:
Happy Columbus Day, Happy Native American Day, Happy Indigenous People’s Day, Happy Discover’s Day, Feliz Día de la Raza, and Feliz Día del Encuentro entre las Culturas