Posted by: Idioma Extra | November 22, 2010

Monday’s News

Costa Rica Slowly Accepting If Not Adopting Thanksgiving


This is the week that the United States kicks off the Holiday Season with arguably the best of all holidays: Thanksgiving.

Generally a four day feast, starting this Thursday and an urgency towards good feelings crossing all economic borders, parades, a time to relax, great sports, no gifts, no cards to send and no official religion except your own private repose.

On top of this: It is all done without guilt!

Then there is Black Friday which this year started a week ago but never the less thousands upon thousands of people will be in line before dawn Friday (November 26) to buy their Christmas bargains, knocking each other to the ground over mega discounts in the name of “Good buys”. Consumerism at its best or maybe its ugliest!

Again, absent of guilt!

Costa Rica is slowly, very slowly accepting if not adopting Thanksgiving. The country loves to have fun. The adoption of Halloween proves that out.

Already some super markets and restaurants are promoting, “Let us do the cooking for you,” and offering true traditional gringo food although a turkey here costs about four times as that in the US and pumpkin pie is sometimes difficult to find and if you find it, it might be mush.

Then again, Thanksgiving comes only once per year.

In Costa Rica, the Christmas season is an experience to behold.

It is almost too much to manage starting this year as early as August 12Th when Price Smart began stocking shelves with decorations and little toys. Like a work of Beethoven, the build up to the ultimate crescendo, the 25Th of December is non-stop. And, for many, the evening of the 24Th is the highlight because on Christmas day it is off to the beach or a round of visits to family and friends and maybe, if it fits the schedule, even church.

From this week on, there are so many things to see and do that it is impossible not to appreciate how much Costa Rica does indeed celebrate and how hard. Not to mention the special foods like the Tamal that has been a tradition since…I don´t know when.

You do not need money to attend most festivities nor the big parade on December 11Th. You need patience, but that´s about all. There is an amazing amount of free things to see and do every weekend for kids and adults as well as adults who want to be kids.

All cities, from rural pueblitos to San Jose are strung with Christmas lights, the malls and smaller strip centers become Santa´s office for a month or two, parties…everywhere with friends and family, even strangers who after twelve months start to reunite and unite once as in the days of old and vow to keep those relationships alive while knowing deep down, no way.

Tourists from all over the world are here to bask in warm sun, to soak up our spirit of celebration and to mix with the locals discounting the awful roads and high prices.

The borders are crowded with working families going home for the holiday season and they need that bridge to reconnect after working long, hard hours for small wages while sacrificing crucial family ties for months on end. They don´t seem to mind the long bus rides, the awful roads because there is an inherent spirit that soon they become one with strong hugs and lots of kisses and that makes the travel all worthwhile.

Costa Rica is a good place to be during Christmas and while we do have many problems and issues to solve, we also recognize that having fun is a good thing. From the famous Coca Cola tree (November 28Th) to The Parade of Lights (December 11Th) to the other parades and celebrations in each and every pueblo in Costa Rica….this is truly the season to rejoice… starting now!


Word of the Day

Pronunciation: \ˈbask\
Origin: Middle English, probably from Old Norse bathask, reflexive of batha to bathe; akin to Old English bæth bath
First Known Use: 14th century
1: to lie or relax in a pleasant warmth or atmosphere
2: to take pleasure or derive enjoyment <basked in the spotlight>
3: obsolete: to warm by continued exposure to heat

More Vocabulary

Behold: v. to perceive through sight or apprehension
Consumerism: n.
the promotion of the consumer’s interests
Crescendo: n.
the peak of a gradual increase
Inherent: adj.
involved in the constitution or essential character of something
Local: n.
a local person or thing
Mush: n.
something soft and spongy or shapeless
Rejoice: v.
to feel joy or great delight
Repose: n.
a place of rest
n. the fourth Thursday in November observed as a legal holiday in the United States
Vow: v. to promise solemnly
Worthwhile: adj.
being worth the time or effort spent

Love those Phrasal Verbs

Build up: Increase

  • Tension has been building up ever since the government passed the unpopular law.

Kick off: to initiate (an undertaking, meeting, etc.); begin

  • A rally tomorrow night will kick off the campaign.

Soak up: to absorb with one’s mind or senses; take in: to soak up information

  • Experts and doctors say a child’s mind is like a sponge, it soaks up all the information it is exposed to.


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