Welcome to Costa Rica! 

People of Costa Rica

Ancestry

A variety of indigenous people lived in Costa Rica before Columbus arrived in 1502.  The native cultures in the north were influenced by Mayan civilization.  Southern groups were more influenced by those indigenous to South America.  Spain eventually colonized the Costa Rican area, along with other parts of Central America.  The dominant ethnicity in Costa Rica is Spanish.
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Urban and Rural Life

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About a quarter of the population lives in the urbanized central valley, in places like San Jose and the surrounding cities and neighborhoods.  Homes in urban areas are usually made of cement and have tin roofs.  Some houses have black security bars over the doors and windows.  Most houses in urbanized areas are called row houses, houses that look alike and are attached to one another in a row, like apartments.  Inside, homes generally have tile, or smooth cement flooring, that women clean, shine, and wax daily.  Urbanized homes also have running water and electricity.
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Houses in the rural areas of Costa Rica are a little less modernized than the ones in urban areas.  For instance, they do not all have indoor plumbing or electricity.  Rural homes are usually wooden, have tin roofs, and are painted with bright colors.  Rural areas are where the farmers of Costa Rica live.
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Traditional Foods

Gallo Pinto

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Costa Ricans eat rice and beans in various combinations in for nearly every meal.  Gallo pinto is generally a breakfast meal and consists of rice and black beans.

Casado

Casado is a very common lunch. A popular meal of beans, salad, meat, rice, plantains, and sometimes eggs.
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Plantains

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  Plantains look like large bananas and are in the same general family.  Plantains are lower in sugar, and while we eat bananas raw, plantains require some type of cooking or processing before being eaten.

Olla De Carne

Olla de carne is a national favorite.  It is a beef stew, consisting of beef, potatoes, onions, and a wide variety of vegtables.
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Tamales

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Here's one you are all familiar with! Tamales are served for special occasions in Costa Rica, like Easter or Christmas.  They are a delicious blend of chicken and spices, wrapped in a husk so they are steaming hot on your plate!

Others...

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Things like bread, fruit, tortillas, and coffee, are all widely enjoyed!

Semana Santa

Semana Santa is a very important religious celebration in Costa Rica.  Semana Santa is the week immediately before Easter, and can also be called Holy Week, a week that celebrates the death and the ressurection of Jesus Christ.  For many Costa Ricans, it is a time of reflection and worship with their family.  The Catholic church in each town organizes masses and processions that take place on Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  Each procession is a very dramatic and intense reenactment of Jesus' journey through Jerusalem and his crucifixion and ressurection.  The people who participate in these reenactments play characters like Roman soldiers, angels, apostles, saints, Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Jesus.  The actors perform as a promise that they have lived the last year free of sin and followers of the church's teachings.  The plays are very serious events, spectators line the streets to mourn and pray.  The traditional food to eat during Holy Week is seafood, complying with the Catholic practice of not eating meat during Lent.  During Semana Santa, all buisnesses and schools, rural and urban, close down, Wednesday through Sunday, some for the whole week.  Liquor stores and bars all close, under order of the Dry Law, during Holy Week, since Catholics are not supposed to drink during the mourning of Jesus.  Costa Ricans share a great passion and respect for the celebration of Semana Santa.
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