Semana Santa is over, but another holiday is coming in two weeks

Government workers and others should be back on the job today after the Semana Santa break, and they can look forward to another three-day weekend in two weeks.

April 11 is El Día de Juan Santamaría, celebrating the heroism of the young Alajuela resident at the Second Battle of Rivas.

Santamaría is credited with torching a stronghold held by troops loyal to William Walker in the Nicaraguan town and turning the tide of battle. He was cut down as he ignited the structure.

That was April 11, 1856, and each year on that day Costa Ricans celebrate their patriotism. There is a parade in Alajuela, and the day is a legal holiday.

The full statistics on Semana Santa are not yet available, although it appears that some 35 people lost their lives in a violent way.  A high percentage died from gunfire.

The most talked-about case is that of an Escazú resident with the last name of  Leiva. He got into a discussion with a taxi driver in Playas del Coco Saturday morning.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that a mob of some 20 persons descended on the 21 year old and his friends shortly

after they left a drinking spot. The friends were able to escape, but Leiva suffered a beating and sustained a knife wound to the chest.

Investigators said that the pirate taxi driver bumped one of his passengers with his vehicle when they were leaving and that Leiva dented the vehicle.

The mob contained other pirate taxi drivers, said police.

Later Saturday was the time for the traditional quemas de Judas. That is when young men and some women ignite barricades on streets and highways. The Fuerza Pública said that 20 persons were detained, mostly in Heredia and Desamparados.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos said they responded to 21 incidents between 10:48 p.m. Saturday and 3:25 a.m. Sunday. One call was to the burning of an abandoned vehicle, said fire fighters.

Although there were nearly twice as many calls this year as last, no individual was injured and no structure was ignited, they added.

The fire agency said that 13 calls were in Heredia, but there also were three in Puntarenas and two in Alajuela. Fire fighters get the call when the burning trash and garbage is too much for police to handle.

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