El Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a cultural event that is celebrated at the very beginning of November in various parts of Latin America, to honor those ancestors who have moved on to the afterlife by making altars filled with their loved one’s favorite foods and drinks, sugar skulls and specific flowers (e.g. marigolds/seasonal perennials) that are an essential part of this special and unique celebration.
As a way to help culminate our class while also learning a bit more about this annual tradition, our Sol group shared stories and pictures about those special people in their lives who had a tremendous impact on them who have passed away. We shared pan de muerto, which is also known as the day of the dead bread that is an integral part of this event since it is considered a offering that honors the souls that are part of the afterlife, that come visit their living family members on these special days. Although I am of Hispanic descent and this tradition is one that is near and very dear to my heart, it was a very unique and enriching experience that I got to share with people that I have fostered deep connections with in my program!
Additionally, we got word of a Día de los Muertos festival in downtown San José that would be happening for two full days so we planned out a group of Sol mates so we could all head out together and figure out where the festival was located at. Once we got there, it started pouring but this did not stop us from standing in lines for what seemed like forever to get an elote, which is a whole corn (usually grilled) on a wooden stick that is covered in butter first, then mayo, sour cream, queso freso and finally, drizzled with any of the following toppings: lime, paprika or a hot sauce of your choice. Before we could get our hands on one, the vendor had ran out of elotes so we made our way down to the handmade goods and artisan-crafted items section of the festival.
By this time, it was almost 4pm and we had not had anything to eat so we decided to order flautas, which are fried, rolled tortillas that are stuffed with chicken that were topped off with lettuce, sour cream and salsa verde, a spicy green sauce. This is one of my favorite moments to date because who would have imagined me being able to eat one of Mexico’s most traditional dishes, in the middle of San Jose’s version of a China town (el barrio chino) in downtown Costa Rica?!
This is my second to last month in Costa Rica and I cannot believe that I’m just a few weeks away from returning back to the United States. As much as I miss home, Costa Rica has been such a welcoming, beautiful, embracing country that I have grown to love and I hope to really enjoy the rest of what the semester has for me!