Semana Santa (Easter Week) this year brings together the three passions of most Costa Ricans: Politics, Religion and Fútbol. From Sunday (yesterday) to Sunday next, as the saying goes (in Spanish), “se le juntará el ganado” (all the cows come home).
This year the presidential elections that did not see a clear winner on February 4 will see one of the two Alvarados – Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado, no relation – elected president. Ticos are expected to cut their Easter week vacation to return to their hometown on April 1, Easter or Resurrection Day, to cast their vote. Many others will be out defending ‘their’ candidate. Whatever the results there will be an Alvarado in Zapote come May 8. On Saturday the electoral campaigns came to a close, but it won’t mean there is a respite from political discussions and arguments. Costa Rica is known for households to be divided in their political affiliations, husband and wife out, together, promoting their respective candidate.
Sunday (yesterday), was also Palm Sunday. And as is tradition in Costa Rica, Catholic faithful took to the streets in religious processions in many towns, even in downtown San Jose. The rest of the week will be full of religious ceremonies and processions througout the country, most likely, though not viewed with a good eye by the overseers of the election process, politics in the midst.
Yesterday, Sunday, was the “Clasico” – the duel between the two bastions of Costa Rican soccer, La Liga (Alajuela) and Saprissa (San Jose). Tomorrow, Tuesday, La Sele (the national team) will face Tunisia in their second friendly of the World Cup 2018.
“Until recently futbol was always in first place, but these days, just for these weeks of the second round, politics is a priority,” according to sociologist Guillermo Acuña, a professor at the National University of Costa Rica (UNA).
“Mentally we are still a church town, soccer field and bar, where everything is talked about, even politics. The Tico is still moved by three great passions,” added the sociologist.
There is sure not to be a dull moment this Semana Santa in Costa Rica!