With the cool winds of December in the Central Valley comes the festive air of traditional Costa Rican year-end celebrations. Plenty of activities are out there this time of year to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Avenidazo. The practice of throwing confetti at passers-by on Avenida Central in downtown San José was started many years ago, then canceled because of accidents – such as people ending up in the emergency room choking on confetti. But apparently memory fades fast when Christmas cheer is at stake; five years ago, the San José Municipality reinitiated the custom, and this year it’s being celebrated with cultural events (under guard supervision) through Dec. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Avenida Central. For information, call 2295-6149.
Posadas. In this Catholic tradition, children visit houses in their neighborhoods dressed up as shepherds, Mary and Joseph, singing Christmas carols and learning about the meaning of Christmas. Posadas start today in communities around Costa Rica, and will take place through Dec. 24.
“The Nutcracker.” After years of Christmastime performances, this ballet has become a traditional year-end event in the capital. This year’s production features 10 Russian dancers from the prestigious Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet Theatre of Marina Medvetskaya, with choreography by Peggy Willis-Aarnio of the Florida-based The Willis Ballet (TT, Dec. 5). Performances are scheduled Dec. 12, 16, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m., Dec. 13 at 11 a.m., and Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost ¢5,000 to 10,000 (about $9 to $18) and can be purchased by phone at 2221-5341 or at the theater’s box office, open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nativity Scene Contest. For the past nine years, the coffee town of San Ramón, northwest of San José, has encouraged community members to compete for the honor of best Nativity scene, in categories such as traditional, historical, biblical and artistic. The awards ceremony is set for Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. at the JoséFigueresFerrerCulturalCenter in San Ramón, complete with a Christmas carol concert featuring various local choirs. For information, call 2447-2178.
Festival of Lights. Companies and organizations compete to construct the most elaborate illuminated float in a parade with band music Dec. 13, from 6 to 10 p.m., along Paseo Colón and Avenida 2.
Nativity Scene of Los Heraldos del Evangelio. This 20-minute presentation of small figures in moving dioramas with special effects runs Dec. 14 through Jan. 9, and can be viewed Monday to Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 3 to 8:30 p.m., in the green house 200 meters west and 75 meters south of Club La Guaria’s main entrance, in the northeastern suburb of Moravia. For information, call 2235-5410.
Dominical Little Christmas Show. The southern Pacific beach town of Dominical is getting into the Christmas spirit with music, comedy skits and dances by Dominical Little Theatre. Performances are set for Dec. 14, 17 and 20, at 7 p.m., at the Roca Verde hotel. For information, call 8374-4093.
Mexican Posada. The Mexican community will celebrate a traditional posada Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mexico Institute in the eastern Los Yoses neighborhood. In a Mexican posada, participants chant an old traditional song and reenact Mary and Joseph’s going door to door asking for lodging in Bethlehem. The event will include prayers, Christmas carols, food and a piñata. For more information, call 2283-2333.
Christmas Concert. The Philharmonic Orchestra will close the National Theater’s 2008 calendar of activities with a Christmas concert Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. For information, call 2221-5341.
Misa del Gallo. This special Catholic Mass celebrated Dec. 24 used to be held at midnight but has being changed to an earlier time in most churches. Contact your local church for more information.
Tope. This annual grand horse parade through downtown San José is being organized for the first time this year by the municipality. The event is set for Dec. 26. Riders leave La Sabana Park at 1 p.m., traverse Paseo Colón and Avenida 2 and finish at Paseo de los Estudiantes. For information, call 2255-2360.
Zapote Fiestas. This traditionally must go event has been canceled by the Health Ministry in the past. According to the San JoséMunicipality, the fair is a go this year and will include fireworks, Tico bullfights, rides, food, concerts and cultural shows, Dec. 26 through Jan. 6 at the fairgrounds in the southeastern district of Zapote.