Another holiday, Día de las Culturas, coming up in a week

A week from today is another holiday.

Oct. 12, Columbus Day in the States, falls on Friday. But the observance is today in the United States, so the U.S. Embassy will be closed.

Although Oct. 12 is a Friday, Costa Ricans will celebrate the day Monday, a week from today. The U.S. Embassy will be closed that day, too, as will public schools and most private schools.

The holiday is called día feriado de pago no obligatorio, but that is misleading. Salaried workers get the day off with pay. Under some circumstances hourly workers do not receive pay.

The day is called the Día del Encuentro entre las Culturas here as a way overlooking the impact of the Spanish invasion.
Unlike many Latin country’s Costa Rica still treats Christopher Columbus well. The currency is even a colón, his name in Spanish.

The name of the day also is a way to recognize not only the native culture here but the Caribbean culture that grew from imported laborers from Jamaica.

Costa Rica has been making some moves to reach out to the native groups. An 18th century revolutionary leader, Pablo Presbere, was honored by the legislature in 1997 as a defender of liberty. He was executed by the Spanish in 1710. Technically, the BriBri in southeastern Costa Rica are still at war with the white colonists.

The Caribbean residents center the Carnaval in Limón of the Día de las Culturas. This year the event runs from Thursday to Oct. 21. The two-week event is a big tourist draw.

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