One of the unfortunate things I have found about Costa Rican Society is the need by the educated and the wealthier Costa Ricans to attempt to mimic an American, or a Canadian life-style. On many occasions, while attending University in San José to complete my Costa Rican Law Degree, I found fellow students asking me how they could move to Canada to work and to live.

My counseling was that they should concentrate on fostering a satisfying life-style in Costa Rica and to forget about such a move, as they would likely spend all of their income on rent, warm clothing, and paying to heat their home eight months out of the year. Of course, the obvious statement was always, if you think that living in Canada, or the U.S. would be so much better, why would you think that, as a Canadian, I would choose to live in Costa Rica.

Having completed my general rant on that subject, there are two North American traditions that Costa Ricans have embraced that particularly annoy me, Halloween and Black Friday. While living in Canada, I never liked Halloween. It really constitutes nothing more than a celebration of things evil, not to mention the associated vandalism and the injuries from the miss-use of fireworks. This tradition seems to be growing in importance each year in Costa Rica and has no significance in Costa Rican Culture except that it is one more of those North American traditions to mimic.

Likewise, Black Friday, which hadn’t even started to be a tradition in the U.S., or Canada, when I moved to Costa Rica fifteen years ago, is now becoming a staple in Costa Rica. This tradition in the U.S. in particular, is exhibiting all the attributes of barbarism, with all the clawing, scratching, biting, stabbing, etc., by shoppers of each other. I can’t imagine how this in anyway advances U.S., or Canadian Society, let alone Costa Rican Society, especially when Costa Ricans have a reputation of “maxing-out” their credit cards in any event. Black Friday offers one more opportunity to bring increased social pressure to the family unit at a time of the year already filled with social pressure.

My hope is that Costa Ricans understand that they have a beautiful Country and a Society distinct from the consumer-driven societies of the U.S. and Canada, a distinction which, in my opinion, is well worth preserving.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: Website: