All Souls' Day in Costa Rica

All Souls' Day, known as Día de los Difuntos or Día de los Muertos in Costa Rica, is a day dedicated to remembering and honoring deceased loved ones. This Catholic tradition is observed on November 2nd every year in Costa Rica, as well as in many other countries around the world.


The origins of All Souls' Day can be traced back to early Christian traditions that eventually became part of the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar. Although the specific date of its inception in Costa Rica is not clear, the celebration of All Souls' Day was introduced to the country and the rest of Latin America through Spanish colonization in the 16th century. The day is closely related to All Saints' Day, which takes place on November 1st, and together these two days form a time of remembrance and prayer for the souls of the departed.


National customs for All Souls' Day in Costa Rica

One of the main customs for All Souls' Day in Costa Rica is visiting the graves of deceased family members and friends. People clean and decorate the graves with flowers, candles, and sometimes small offerings of food or drink. It is also common for families to attend Mass at church, where special prayers are offered for the souls of the departed.

Another tradition associated with All Souls' Day in Costa Rica is the preparation and sharing of traditional foods, such as tamales and sweet breads. These foods are often enjoyed during family gatherings, as a way of coming together to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have passed away.

Local customs for All Souls' Day in Costa Rica

While the general customs of All Souls' Day are observed throughout Costa Rica, some local variations and traditions can be found in different regions of the country. In certain rural areas, for example, it is common for people to participate in processions and vigils that take place throughout the night.

Another regional custom can be found in the town of Escazú, located in the Central Valley. Here, a unique tradition called "La Mascarada" takes place during the first days of November, which coincides with All Souls' Day celebrations. La Mascarada is a colorful street parade featuring large, handmade masks that represent various characters from Costa Rican folklore and history. Although not directly linked to All Souls' Day, the celebration adds a distinctive local flavor to the overall atmosphere of remembrance and festivity during this time.


All Souls' Day in Costa Rica is a significant event that brings people together to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of their departed loved ones. Through a combination of national customs such as visiting graves and attending Mass, and local traditions like La Mascarada, Costa Ricans pay homage to the deceased and maintain a connection with their heritage and cultural roots.