Costa Rican welcome the new year with a special ceremony for the Niño

As it becomes time to put away Christmas things, Costa Ricans cannot pack away Baby Jesus without a ceremony.

The event is called  rezo del Niño, and such ceremonies are taking place all over the country. The statue of Jesus is the centerpiece of nativity displays. These displays are everywhere. They can be found in public buildings, in apartment building lobbies, office buildings and, of course, private homes. So each location probably will host a rezo del Niño

Plaza Real Cariari is having a traditional rezo del Niño for the public Sunday at 3 p.m. Expats could see one up close.

The rezo is fairly standard, and there are professional groups that organize them. The groups include one or more musicians or at least someone on a guitar. Then there is the rezadora, almost always a woman who recites prayers, mainly those represented on the Roman Catholic Rosary.  She says one half and the participants in the audience are expected to finish the other half.

Plaza Real Cariari also promises singing and a musical group that includes someone playing the güiro, a hand-held percussion instrument and the pandereta, a form of tambourine. Naturally the session will close with the singing of “Ave María,” which also is traditional.

At rezos de Niño in the home, light or heavy refreshments usually are served with the men in the other room working on a bottle of rum. Plaza Real Cariari did not promise this. But the commercial center did say that a rezo de Niño was a good way to thank God for the blessing of the past year and pray for the same in 2014.

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