The prelude to Christmas gets into high gear this week.
Wednesday, the public schools finish the 2015 term. The same day the Museo Nacional has an all-day Christmas festival.
“The Nutcracker” continues Tuesday through Friday at the Teatro Nacional and ends with a double performance Sunday.
The Little Theatre Group will be presenting seven performances of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens throughout the week, ending Sunday.
Saturday is the Festival de la Luz, the Christmas parade that attracts up to a million spectators to downtown San José.
And nearly every Costa Rican will be glued to the television Sunday as the winners of the Gordo Christmas lottery are determined. The top four prizes are $2.66 million each.
“The Nutcracker,” El Cascanueces in Spanish, is a staple for children at Christmas, but not all the dancers in the ballet are young. Top dancers from the Russian Republic, the Czech Republic and New York have the leads.
Also performing are students from 25 Costa Rican ballet schools who auditioned in July and have been practicing since. The Sunday performances are at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., all at the Teatro Nacional.
The staged narration of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens was
adapted and designed especially for the Little Theatre Group by Annette Hallett, the English-language theatrical organization said. The performances will feature a cast of 13 players creating more
than 30 different Dickensian characters, including, of course, the iconic Ebenezer Scrooge, it added. The location is 27 Calle Rose, Escazú.
There will be seating for only 40 persons at each performance, and there will be a total of seven performances Wednesday and Sunday. Entry is by donation. Performances start
Wednesday to Friday at 7:30 p.m. There is a
matinee at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and also Sunday with an evening performance Sunday at 7:30 p.m, said the organization. Reservations and more information can be found at the Little Theatre Group Web site or by calling 8858-1446.
The event at the Museo Nacional Wednesday includes at 9 a.m. blessing of the portal or nativity scene. The event is free and open to the public and includes workshops, a Christmas concert, a chorus and typical foods.
There also is a session of story telling at 10 a.m. and a concert at 11 a.m. by the Orchestra Sinfónica at the Universidad de Costa Rica.
There are workshops for children in the afternoon and a closing concert at 2 p.m. by the chorus of Hospital Clinica Biblica.
The nativity scene at the museum featured the life-size statues that are more than 100 years old. The statues were part of the nativity scene when the Sisters of Charity ran Clinica Biblica. When the nuns surrendered the hospital, the statues went to the museum.
Festival de la Luz
The big Christmas parade is sponsored by the Municipalidad de San José with support from major corporations. Police and Cruz Roja volunteers are involved in a major effort to keep parade viewers safe.
This is the 20th anniversary of the event, and the festivities start with activities in Paseo Colón at 3 p.m. mainly for younger children. The main parade is supposed to step off at 6 p.m. but usually begins late.
Workmen already are putting up the spectator stands for the parade along Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda, and traffic police have issued a warning that the lanes will be restricted because of the work and the stands.
Until sometime after 7 p.m. Sunday when the winning number is picked, Costa Ricans can plan how they will handle $2.66 million or a fraction, depending on how much of a full lottery ticket they hold.
The full ticket or entero costs 70,000 colons, and the chances of winning are slim. Yes every year some Costa Ricans win because they picked the correct three-digit series and the correct two digit number. There are lesser prizes, too, and the Junta de Protección Social distributes millions to the country’s social agencies.