Costa Rica Celebrates Black Culture

August 21, 2009

The last day of August will be celebrated in Costa Rica – as well as in many places around the world – as a day to promote and commemorate black culture, with the annual Gala Parade through the streets of the Caribbean port city of Limón.

Limón Roots magazine is once again hosting the festivities for the Black Culture Festival, which kicks off this weekend in Limón and the Caribbean-slope town of Siquirres. Events are also planned in the capital and in the Pacific port city of Puntarenas, on the opposite coast.

“We feel proud to celebrate once again the presence of blacks in Costa Rica,” said Ramiro Crawford, the festival’s director and editor of the magazine. He added he hopes the initiative is eventually celebrated in every school district in the country.

Aug. 31 was originally chosen by the famed Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) as a day of worldwide black pride.

Garvey first came to Costa Rica in 1910 and worked as a timekeeper for the United Fruit Company before leaving to found the UNIA in Harlem, New York, in 1914.

The day has traditionally started with a breakfast at Limón’s Liberty Hall – also known as the Black Star Line, after Garvey’s shipping line – for close to 90 years, and the tradition will not be broken this year. Liberty Hall was founded in Limón in 1922 by the UNIA as its Costa Rican headquarters.

For the complete festival program, see the Calendar on pages W6 and W7, or visit www.limonroots.net for more information.

–Daniel Shea

 

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