Christmas in Costa Rica – They Celebrate Xmas Day Quite Differently

Costa Rica is endowed with sandy beaches, palm trees, and warm weather, including during December.

However, just because the country doesn’t get wrapped up in snow during the festive season doesn’t mean that it lacks the Christmas spirit.

The residents of Costa Rica are primarily catholic, and they observe Christmas with a lot of enthusiasm, as shown below.

Xmas Decorations

People in Costa Rica will often decorate cypress tree or dried branches of coffee shrubs with lights and ornaments.


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They also decorate their houses with gorgeous tropical blooms.

Families also create pasitos (nativity scenes) and place them as decorations in their homes. The pasito, also known as portal, is designed to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

These scenes include Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, as well as animals like cows, oxen, dogs, and sheep.

Baby Jesus is added in the scenes on the Eve of Christmas and is believed to bring gifts to the children.

Christmas Dinner

Tamales are a principal part of Christmas dinners in Costa Rica. This delicious treat is made of corn flour filled with potato puree, vegetables, garlic, rice, and onions, not to mention shredded beef, pork, and chicken.

Christmas Dinner

The residents of Costs Rica also visit their friends and families where they enjoy roast pork leg, pastries and desserts like tres leches while exchanging Christmas gifts.

Some people also drink rompope (eggnog) and heavy rum, while those who are religious head out for the midnight mass.

Christmas Events

The Christmas cheer goes on through December, which is characterized by parties, parades rodeos, street fairs, bull runs, and dance festivals.

Another highlight of these events includes the horseback parade known as El Tope; this occurs on the 26th of December.

Also, there is a bullfight event that consists of bull riding, live music, fireworks, equestrian skills, and live music.

The Costa Rican bullfight event is family-friendly, and no bulls are killed during the festival.

Costa Rica is a vibrant country that especially comes alive during the Christmas period.

This holiday is filled with amazing events, delicious South American cuisines, and decorations that are a sight to behold.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Main Points About Christmas in Costa Rica

  1. Many Costa Ricans are Roman Catholic; hence, Christmas is a very elaborate and vibrant time.
  2. On Christmas eve, many people wear their favorite outfit and go to the ‘Mass of the Rooster’. After which they have their Christmas meal.
  3. The Costa Rican Christmas does not feature Santa Claus as the gift-bringer, instead, ‘Nino Dios’ meaning Jesus.
  4. Like many Catholic nations, Costa Rica uses a lot of nativity decorations during the Christmas season with lots of baby Jesus figurine placed on Christmas eve.
  5. For Costa Ricans, Christmas is a time for family togetherness, music, lights and lots to eat. The season thrives with parades, fiestas, choral, rodeos, fairs, bull runs, and dance festivals.


In Costa Rica, people decorate their houses with flowers, wreaths made of cypress branches, Christmas lights and large nativity scenes for Christmas. Apples are popular and apple stands will appear on the side of the road.

The gift-bringer is often ”Nino dios” (Child of God) or ”Colacho” (St. Nicholas).

After Mia de Gallo (Midnight Mass), the main Christmas meal is served, normally consisting of chicken and pork tamales cooked in plantain leaves.

Word Cloud for Christmas in Costa Rica

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Costa Rica. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Christmas in Costa Rica


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