Mardi Gras

Costa Rica is a predominantly Catholic country, and observant of most major religious holidays, and Easter is no exception.  Semana Santa, or Holy Week, as it is known, is one of the busiest times along the Guanacaste coast, sending hordes of national tourists flocking to the coast to enjoy the extended long weekend, warm waves and blazing April sun.  Easter celebrations are multifold, and nightfall is invariably greeted with the crackle of fireworks and the steady rhythms of cumbia and salsa music wafting out across dance floors, calling the revelers to join the fun.

Mardi Gras celebration in Liberia

The festivities begin much sooner than Holy Week in some parts, kicking off with the much-beloved Mardi Gras celebration.  “Fat Tuesday” once marked a day of feasting before the 40 days of Lent fasting, although the ‘fortifications’ have undoubtedly multiplied over the years.

The local Mardi Gras carnival kicks off tomorrow (March 7) in the town of Flamingo, just 20 minutes from the Hotel Sugar Beach.  Residents and business owners will ride colourful floats through town starting at 4pm, tossing the traditional beaded necklaces to onlookers.  Costumes of every kind will be in effect, and the revelry is sure to last well into the evening.  Proceeds from the event are donated to local schools and charitable organizations.

–C. Keogan