Christmas Home Decorations
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Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, ornaments glittering and wreathes made of fragrant cypress, glittered pinecones, red Christmas flowers, sparkled and multi-color twinkle lights, create the cozy feeling in Costa Rican homes since the beginning of December.
During the holiday season, the Christmas tree – traditionally a pine or a cypress- is one of the centerpiece of every Costa Rican household placed in the living room next to the Nativity scene. Families buy it from choose-and-cut your own Christmas tree farms, a choose-and-They cut or a pre-cut Christmas tree lot on the Streets or at supermarkets.
The Christmas tree is decked out traditionally white, red and green with multicolor twinkling lights, pinecones plain or sprayed in silver or gold to highlight the different textures, beaded, ribbon, or foil garlands hung from branch to branch creating a festive and fun tree and topping it with a brilliant multi-color start. Sometimes families get creative and make candy themed trees with classic assortments of local lollipops, candy, and chocolates.
Baby Jesus is credited for placing the gifts under the tree at midnight on Christmas Eve when he is tucked in the manger. Parents and friends ask children on Christmas Day "What did Baby Jesus bring your for Christmas?" Nowadays, with the U.S. influence and mall proliferation Santa is starting to get more popularity over baby Jesus.
Christmas tree are usually taken down on January 1st or after the traditional Rezos del Niño. Some local governments started Christmas tree recycle programs in 2011.
A Nativity scene El Portal is common indoor or outdoor in homes, churches, shopping malls, and public buildings during December. It is a time honored tradition to remember the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Traditionally the scene is set in a stable with cows, oxen, dogs, chicken, and include Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus in the manger, three Magic Kings arriving by Camels, shepherds herding their sheep waking towards the stable, angels, the Star of Bethlehem, and outlying scenes of rivers, mountains, and trails.
The Nativity scene's base is fresh Spanish or standard moss to represent grass, cork is sometimes used to represent mountains or cliffs, crafted wood figures, decorative papers of different colors, ramps to evoke a sense of elevation, multi colored sawdust, glitter and Christmas lighting.
Every day families gather to move the shepherds and the three Magic Kings closer and closer to the stable. The shepherds arrive on Christmas Eve when baby Jesus is tucked in the manger and the three Magic Kings arrive on January 6th when baby Jesus is crowned and adorned in purple, the color of royalty.
The Rosary For Baby Jesus
The Rosary for Baby Jesus Rezos del Niño is the traditional celebration in Costa Rica to take Nativity scene down between January 6th (Twelfth Night) and February 2nd (Candlemas Day) at each Costa Rican home. The celebration brings family, neighbors and guests together to pray the Holy Rosary, give thanks to God for baby Jesus and ask for healing, strength and guidance for the year.
The Holy Rosary is led by a person with great integrity among the town or neighborhood and often with a choir ensemble with guitars and flutes playing Christian music in between the Mysteries.
Festive and traditional snacks served at the Rosary for Baby Jesus are tamal asado, cookies and candy for children, and coffee, agua dulce or eggnog. Posh treats include chicken with rice, fried beans and potato ships.