QCOSTARICA – Legislators of the Comisión de Gobierno y Administración (Government and Administration Commission) approved a bill by independent legislators Jonathan Prendas to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in Costa Rica, the traditional American holiday, on the last Thursday of November.
The decision to adopt Thanksgiving Day was made this Tuesday by the legislative forum under the argument that the initiative would attract more foreign visitors to commemorate this holiday in “a country with a warmer climate.”
The text of the project itself details that it would also be a celebration focused on “strengthening family values, peaceful coexistence and attracting tourists who seek to commemorate that date outside their country.”
“Thanksgiving Day has become a tradition that is lived with intensity and that does not distinguish religion or political affiliation. According to a survey carried out by the Pew center in 2013, nine out of ten Americans celebrate the day, including 80% of non-Christians,” Prendas alleges in his argument for the initiative.
When he presented the initiative, the legislator stated that the idea is based on Article 51 of the Constitution, because “it is clear in defining the family as the center of society and with the right to receive protection from the State.”
The independent legislators was supported legislators Carmen Chan, Nidia Céspedes, Harllan Hoepelman, of the Nueva República bloc; Patricia Villegas, from the Partido Integración Nacional (PIN); Aracelly Salas, Óscar Cascante and Pablo Abarca, from the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC); as well as the independents Erick Rodríguez and Shirley Díaz.
Prendas pointed out that it will not be a holiday nor will it have a surcharge for the public or private sector, but that it seeks to “lay the foundations for the promotion of family values in the country.”
He also stated that this date is the symbolic beginning of the high season for tourism in Costa Rica and argued that this declaration will serve to “increase the benefits of the national and international tourist offer, as well as the revitalizing actions of restaurants and commerce in general.”
Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in November (November 24 this year) in the United States and October (October 10 this year) in Canada. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan
According to Britannica.com, Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving, a holiday particularly rich in legend and symbolism, is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people.
Days of thanksgiving in Canada also originated in the colonial period, arising from the same European traditions, in gratitude for safe journeys, peace, and bountiful harvests.
Prendas cited that, during this festive period, Americans prefer to travel to Central America and the Caribbean, in particular to Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.
“Tourism is one of the largest generators of employment. Directly, 13.2% of workers in Costa Rica carried out some work related to the tourism industry before the pandemic, but the sector reports a sharp drop.
“In 2019 alone, tourists who came to the country spent an average of more than US$1,000 during their stay. That same year, the number of visitors coming from the United States by air amounted to 1,592,888 arrivals,” said Prendas.