Christmas in Costa Rica is celebrated with a public holiday every 25 December, as it is in a majority of countries around the world. This Christian festivity commemorates the birth of Jesus, and is part of a 22-28 day season in the Christian calendar known as Advent.
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In Costa Rica, students get out of school right before Christmas time, and most commonly, they head straight for the beach. Beaches are crowded this time of year as everyone is out enjoying the sun, the sand, and some welcome time off.
Homes may have a Christmas tree, but more important is the highly decorative nativity scene. Homes are also decked out with lights, tropical flowers, fruits, cypress-branch wreaths, and more. Sometimes, Baby Jesus brings the presents, but other times, it is Saint Nicholas.
You will notice that streets are lined with stalls where apples are sold this time of year. Eating apples has somehow become a Christmas tradition in Costa Rica. Eating tamales wrapped in banana leaves, drinking egg nog and rum punch, and attending rodeos, dances, parades, bull runs, and street parties are other traditions of note.