San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Festival of Lights to illuminate city with Christmas cheer

By Camila Valverde

The Festival of Lights is an event full of Christmas cheer that is held every year in San José. It originated in 1996 when the San José Municipality organized the first parade. The next Festival of Lights will be Saturday, Dec. 10, and will take place between the National Gymnasium and the Plaza de la Democracia, from 6 p.m. to midnight. It has a mascarada show, marching bands, fireworks and beautifully adorned floats. 

There will be awards for some of the floats. The prize for first place is a trophy, and second and third place get a scroll. The floats that will compete for the awards are Coca-Cola, Movistar, Claro, Florida Bebidas, Importadora Monge, Kolbi, Glaxo-SmithKline, Infocoop, Banco de Costa Rica, Librería Universal, RECOPE, ICT, Children’s Hospital and San José Municipality. 

The bands can also win awards. The band awards are judged based on the best community band, best primary school student in the band, and the best high school student in the band. The prize for the winning band is a bronze star. The jury will consist of a group of people who know about visual arts, music and architecture. 

For the festival, you should bring comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothes, depending on the temperature. Remember to not carry valuables that might get lost or stolen. If you bring children, you should bring liquids and food for a snack. Since many people go to the festival, you should arrive early to find spots where it is easier to see the floats, the mascarada, the bands and the fireworks. 

Enjoy the festival and have a wonderful holiday season! 

Costa Rican Camila Valverde, 12, is a sixth-grader at Arandú School in Escazú. She lives in Bello Horizonte.


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