Today in Heredia, we learned about the history and culture of Costa Rica. In the culture presentation, Dr. Laura Ramirez said that Costa Rica was known for being a country of peace and natural resources and I couldn’t agree more. Every Tico that we have encountered over the past two days has always been very friendly and eager to share their culture with us. We learned common games, food, and art during the presentation by explaining games to our classmates and by painting deigns that would normally be painted on an oxcart.
Oxcarts have been painted in Costa Rica since the colonial period to represent the legacy of values, hard-work, generosity, and colorful nature. By painting the designs that would have normally been painted on an oxcart onto a canvas, we were able to choose colors that had different meanings and significance rather than simply putting colors together because they look pretty. For example, green could represent nature, blue could represent water, yellow could represent the sun or bananas, and purple could represent the rain clouds during the wet season.
To become more familiar with the culture, we had a dance lesson in the afternoon where we learned basic steps to salsa and merengue. It was a really interesting activity to participate in because dancing in Costa Rica and Latin America is so different to the dancing we have in the United States. Salsa and merengue are usually a partner dance with a male and a female and normally, you don’t see those kind of dances in the United States.
Overall, I thought the activities today were a great way to learn more about the culture of Costa Rica and am looking forward to our company visits to coffee plantations tomorrow!