Expats can take a tip from Christopher Columbus this weekend and go exploring.
Columbus no longer gets full recognition in Costa Rica, and the day is now Oct. 12, Saturday, called El Día de las Culturas, honoring the multiple groups that make up the country’s population. It is a legal holiday.
The U.S. Embassy notes that the Italian navigator, who once visited Costa Rica, still is remembered in the United States where the day is Columbus Day. That’s why the embassy will be closed Monday because the observance is moved ahead two days to create a three-day weekend.
In Costa Rica, the big celebration is the carnival in Limón, which starts Friday. and runs through Oct. 21. The Afro-Caribbean population of that area is one of the cultures honored Saturday.
But there are many other activities. In San José there are two events. TheEl Costa Rica-Festival Internacional de Cine 2013 begins a nine-day run Friday. And Sunday there is the El Festival Semillas con Identidad put on by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud honoring the native strains of food products.
Food is the attraction in San Ramón Saturday with the Festival de Comidas Tradicionales organized by the Centro Cultural e Histórico José Figueres .
The movie festival will screen 140 works during its run in the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23. The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud is co-sponsor with the Centro Costarricense de Producción Cinematográfica. Screenings also will be in the nearby Cine Magaly, the Cine Variedades downtown, the Sala Garbo at Avenida 2 at Calle 28, and Teatro Melico Salazar, also downtown on Avenida 2.
The movie production of Argentina will be featured.
As a teaser, the acclaimed movie “Gravity” about lost astronauts will be screened tonight in Cine Magaly at 8 p.m.
The movie is by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
The Saturday food festival in San Ramón begins at 11 a.m. in the cultural center. There also will be an arts and crafts show and Italian folk dancing at 1 p.m. by the groups “Añoranza Italiana” and “Cosecha de Oro Fino.”
There are contests for chefs and prizes in three categories of 50,000 colons each, about $100. Entries still are being accepted.
Naturally there will be a lot of food for sampling and sale.
Festival of the seeds
Native Costa Rican seeds have been in the news because of opposition to genetically modified plants. Some opponents say modified plants will pollute the genome of existing crops.
The culture ministry said that the Sunday event is to rescue and promote the use of the traditional strains of the native seeds
The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Centro Nacional de la Cultura on Avenida 7. Admission is free. Some seeds will be shared with the public, organizers say.
There also will be a duel of street bands at noon. a dance for the public at 2 p.m. and workshops all day. There will also be food sales.
Organizers say that Costa Ricans have forgotten the tradition of sitting at the table and eating basic grains because they have been lured away by fast food. The effort is to counter that trend.