Monday 14 June 2021

Progress Came to Escazu in “Carreta”

1foto-antigua-boyeros-abrir-con-photoshop-640x353By Mario Guevara, translated by Maria Jose Serrano ( Although hard to believe boyeros (oxcarts drivers), oxen and carts are closely linked to the progress and development of Escazú.
When the trucks did not exist and the roads were just trails through the farms, carretas (carts) carried sugar cane and coffee, vital for the economic activation of the canton and the country.

The history of the boyeros, oxen and carretas in Escazú can be traced back to very ancient roots. A document from 1658, establishes the existence of two wooden carts, two yokes and two oxen, unique in the canton, which at the time was a huge hacienda known as Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary).

Later, during the eighteenth century, Escazú underwent dramatic changes same as for the rest of the the colonial Costa Rica. There was a significant population growth, many large properties were fragmented and mestizo farmers in their chácaras (or farms) produced what was needed for family consumption.

Wealthier families grew sugar cane and trapiches (to process the sugar), with them the boyeros, oxen and carretas proliferated.

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There is a detailed description from 1719 of a trapiche located in the current district of San Rafael. The building consisted of a Guapinol wood mill with three maces, two copper pots and two cedar canoes. There were also two yokes, two carretas, seven oxen for plowing and carrying wood, and two very appreciated wheeler-dealers oxen.

Thus the history of the municipal canton of Escazú as in many communities in Costa Rica’s Central Valley is closely related to Oxherding and the development of farming.

During the middle of the nineteenth century, in Escazú coffee just like sugar cane, was already an important crop and this further strengthened the oxherding as a fundamental element of farming culture. So, the boyeros and their carretas came to occupy a privileged place in the celebrations in honor of the patron saint of each community.

As a matter of fact, 25 years ago, on January 17 of 1983, Escazú City Council declared the first Sunday of March as the Cantonal Boyero Day and Festival of the Carreta; while worldwide on November 25 of 2005, the representation of boyeros, oxen and carretas were enacted as world cultural heritage declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

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The tradition of boyeros is a symbol of the culture of Escazú, a tradition that takes a very special place in the heart of its citizens.

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Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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