This Semana Santa or Holy Week in Costa Rica. It is possibly the biggest holiday in Costa Rica and it feels similar to Christmas week in the United States. However it is more like what Christmas may have been like 40 years ago. Everything is going to shut down. Our school closed for the entire week. Many government offices and business close for the entire week, most will be closed today, and everyone will be closed tomorrow through Sunday. It is a big Catholic holiday, and since so many are Catholic it is a big weekend for the country. Interestingly many people take this week to go to the beach, and from a tourist standpoint it is called a super high season. Everything is very expensive, especially accommodations, so it is not a very good time for us to take a trip. And since Sarah is in a cast, we cannot really go to the beach anyway. However if you ever think about visiting Costa Rica for a vacation, do not come during Holy Week. You will pay. There are many processions throughout the city on different days celebrating significant events in the final week of Jesus’ life. For a good explanation of Holy Week look at this link on wikipedia. We have tried to make the most of the week off from school, and on Monday visited the Museo de Oro in downtown San Jose. This museum was very interesting for the kids as they had never seen that much pure gold, and they all ran from box to box being impressed. The museum also demonstrated how the pre-Columbian communities made their gold figures, and it gave a good, short explanation of the societies that existed here before the Spanish conquistadores arrived.
It has been hot in San Jose, so one of the great things about this museum was the air conditioning. Architecturally, it was interesting, being all below ground with an industrial feel. They had a lot of explanations regarding the construction of the museum as well.
There were lots of small gold figurines such as the above as well.
I found it interesting to learn how the early societies lived and how things changed with the coming of the Spaniards. Costa Rica was in a zone between the Aztec civilization and the Incas, belonging to neither. So despite having a developed social structure that allowed for some to dedicate their working days to craftsmanship, they did not have the large civilization groupings of their northern and southern neighbors.