Known for their laid-back lifestyle and hospitality, Ticos also tend to be a strongly religious people. Spirituality has shaped much of Costa Rica's history and cultural heritage, and remains an important part of many people's lives here. Come with me to learn more about religion in Costa Rica!
A foundation of faith
Catholicism is the dominant religion in Costa Rica. In fact, it's actually a part of the country's constitution. Unlike the U.S., there is no separation of church and state here, and faith forms an important part of how Ticos live their lives. More than 70 percent of Ticos are Catholic, and this strong culture of religious belief has a powerful impact on Costa Rica's national identity, culture and heritage.
Many of the country's most ornate and impressive buildings are churches strongly influenced by the Spanish culture that is a defining part of Costa Rica's heritage. Mass is often delivered in Spanish, although many churches also lead services in English due to the large number of ex-pats and English speakers who live here.
A culture of celebration
The Catholic faith is much more important to Ticos than just going to church on Sundays. Costa Rica observes several major religious holidays and events throughout the year, and these events are a great way for tourists to experience this side of the Costa Rican lifestyle.
Saint Joseph, or San Jose, is celebrated and honored on March 19. During the event, the capital of Costa Rica unites in celebration of the husband of the Virgin Mary, one of the most important figures in the Catholic faith. Festivities taking place on San Jose day typically include traditional fiestas and extended masses.
Other major religious celebrations observed in Costa Rica include San Isidro Labrador day, the patron saint of farmers and livestock, which is celebrated on May 15. La Negrita is honored by many Ticos on August 2, with many Costa Ricans making a pilgrimage to the Basilica in Cartago. The Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated during special rituals held by the Boruca Indians in Nicoya, and the Black Christ of Esqiopulas is worshipped in Alajuelita and Santa Cruz in January.
While many people come here to relax on the stunning beaches and explore the tropical rainforests, exploring Costa Rica's Catholic roots is an ideal way for curious travelers to learn more about this essential part of the country's identity.
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