With the cool winds of December in the Central Valley comes the festive air of traditional Costa Rican year-end celebrations.
Though two of the biggest San José area events the Zapote fair and the carnival have been canceled by the Municipality of San José, there are still plenty of activities out there to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Avenidazo. The practice of throwing confetti at passers-by on Avenida Central in downtown San José was started many years ago, then canceled because of accidents such as people ending up in the emergency room choking on confetti. But apparently memory fades fast when Christmas cheer is at stake; five years ago the Municipality of San José reinitiated the custom, and this year it is being celebrated with cultural events (under guard supervision) through Dec. 20, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Avenida Central. For information, call 295-6149.
Dominical Little Christmas Show. The southern Pacific beach town of Dominical is getting into the Christmas spirit with music, comedy skits and dances by the Dominical Little Theatre group. Performances are set for Dec. 17, 20 and 22, 7 p.m., at the Hotel Roca Verde in Dominical. For information, call 374-4093 or visit www.dominical.biz/theater.
Misa del Gallo. This special Catholic mass celebrated Dec. 24 used to be held at midnight, but has being changed to an earlier time in most churches. Contact your local church for more information.
Nativity Scene Contest. For the past eight years, the coffee town of San Ramón, northwest of San José, has encouraged community members to compete for the honor of best portal (Nativity scene), in categories such as traditional, historical, biblical and artistic. The awards ceremony is set for tomorrow at 4 p.m., at the JoséFigueresFerrerCulturalCenter in San Ramón, complete with a Christmas carol concert featuring choirs from the University of Costa Rica s San Ramón campus, the Santa Cecilia School of Palmares and the Music Institute of Alajuela. For information, call 447-2178.
Nativity Scene of Los Heraldos del Evangelio. This 20-minute presentation of small figures in moving dioramas with special effects runs through Jan. 12, and can be viewed Monday to Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 3 to 8:30 p.m., in the green house 200 meters west and 75 meters south of Club La Guaria s main entrance, in Moravia, a suburb northeast of San José. For information, call 235-5410.
Posadas. In this Catholic tradition, children visit houses in their neighborhoods dressed up as shepherds, Mary and Joseph, singing Christmas carols and learning about the meaning of Christmas. Posadas start today in communities around Costa Rica, and will take place through Dec. 24.
The Angel of Love Christmas Concert. The Little Theatre Group will be hosting this fifth annual fundraising concert Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m., at the Blanche Brown Theatre in the western San José suburb of Escazú. The group El Ebano, made up of members of the National Symphony Orchestra, will perform a mixed program including traditional Christmas music. Proceeds are earmarked for Hogar Tom y Norman, a home for abandoned old folks in the Caribbean-slope town of Guápiles. Admission is free, but a cash donation or gift of nonperishable food will be very much appreciated. For reservations and information, call 355-1623.
The Nutcracker. After years of Christmastime performances, this ballet has become a traditional year-end event in the capital. Directed by Pedro Martín Boza, this year s production at the National Theater in downtown San José features Cuban dancers Romel Frómeda, Ernesto Fariña and Elier Bourzac. Remaining performances are tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost ¢4,000-10,000 (about $8-19) and can be purchased over the phone at 221-5341 or at the theater box office, open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tope. Organized for the first time by the Municipality of San José, this year s grand horse parade through downtown San José is set for Dec. 26, leaving La Sabana Park at 1 p.m., passing through Paseo Colón and Avenida 2, and finishing at Paseo de los Estudiantes. For information, call 255-2360.