Mercado Central merchants to mix religion and Costa Rican traditions

Thursday will see a mix of the religious and traditional at the Mercado Central in downtown San José.

The merchants who have their shops in the market will be honoring their patron, Jesus Christ, in the persona of the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús. Some shoppers may have noticed the life-size statue of Jesus permanently inside the market.

The annual festivities Thursday start off with a Mass on the sidewalk outside the market. Celebrating the Mass will be Archbishop José Rafael Quirós, said an announcement from the merchants who are members of the Unión de Comerciantes del Mercado Central.

Following the 10 a.m. Mass is a mix of Costa Rican culture ranging from marimbas to tamales.

The merchants said they not only promise an event filed with devotion but also filled with Costa Rican tradition.

There will be a  cimarrona, the brass street band, and the traditional mascaradas, those towering papier-mâché figures.

The market was founded in 1880, and just walking through the corridors is to take a trip back into the 19th century where the market was the center of the daily routine.

Some tourists are reluctant to have a meal at one of the many sodas inside the market, but some are associated with national chains, and the sanitation standards are equal to restaurants elsewhere. However, the menus are skewed toward the traditional, including the tamales. The market also is a place to find foods and spices in bulk.

The event also is being sponsored by the municipality.

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