San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Holy Week: A Time Of Superstitions

Next week is Holy Week, the most important religious holiday of the year for Catholic Ticos, and a time of many superstitions, perhaps invented by long-ago ancestors to ensure people kept their mind on faith and prayer.

In times past, people stopped all kinds of activities from Holy Wednesday through Good Friday, believing it averted curses.Women cooked everything for the holy days ahead of time, while men collected extra wood for the stoves. During the holy days themselves, families did little but pray and attend special masses and rituals. Good Friday was especially observed – my grandma Trina used to say, “Never work or do anything on Good Friday except pray.”

There are other superstitions as well, the most famous of which is the belief that if you go swimming on Good Friday you could turn into a fish. It is also believed that if you climb a tree on this holy day, you run the risk of growing a tail.

Fortune hunters will love this one: They say that at midnight on Good Friday the higuerón (giant fig tree) blossoms, and a cloud hovers over it, where the devil waits for victims; the person who can pick the flower without being caught by the devil will win the lottery and be rich forever.


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