Those lacking a team of bueyes, might consider checking on the video camera, the broad-brimmed hat and the sunscreen.
The event is the big parade of the lumbering animals Sunday, Nov. 25, along Paseo de Colón and Avenida 2.
The oxen and the iconic painted carts are on the U.N. world heritage list. At the start of every Christmas season, the oxen, the drivers and the carts evoke historical links to the past for Costa Ricans. Since the arrival of the Spanish, the oxen have been the muscle that made the country move.
Long lines of oxen and their carts carried coffee beans to Puntarenas. The first steam locomotive was carried by oxen and carts from Puntarenas to the Central Valley.
Today the oxen are mostly a hobby, although some farmers still use the beasts for plowing and other heavy chores. Bankers, lawyers and teachers by day don their rubber boots and campesino hats to lead their oxen in various parades all year. The Nov. 25 parade is one of the top two events for oxcart drivers. The other is on the Día Nacional de Boyero, as the oxcart drivers are called.
The entry of the saints is a highly photogenic event. Oxen pull carts that contain wooden
statues of Roman Catholic saints. They pass a reviewing stand, and there are prizes for various categories. For most boyeros, the parade is the reason, not the prizes.
The animals usually pass before a priest who gives them a blessing. One year the priest was Archbishop Pierre Nguyễn Văn Tốt, papal representative in Costa Rica.
The parade Nov. 25 begins at 10 a.m. under skies that are likely to be blue and sunny. Hence the hat and sunscreen.