Why we use oxcarts in our Costa Rica Pura Vida theme?

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Last Sunday we celebrated the Oxcart Parade in San José. 270 oxcarts passed by the main streets of the capital city, celebrating our National Labor Symbol: la “Carreta Típica” (The typical cart).

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Ox carts belong to the Costa Rican traditions as much as the “Pura Vida” phrase, or as our famous gallo pinto breakfasts (In Costa Rica fried rice and beans are called Gallo Pinto and it is the traditional breakfast).  You will see carts at the entrance of the hotels and restaurants, and here, in Premio, we also use them to decorate our typical theme “Pura Vida Costa Rica”. Not only the carts themselves, but also their painting design and colors, as complex and beautiful as they are.

History:

La Carreta, “The oxcart” in English, was chosen National Labor Symbol on March 22nd, 1988. During the nineteenth century, and with a growing coffee exportation and extensive coffee plantations around the country, it was essential to have a means of transportation that could pass through muddy places, hills, rivers and creeks, winding roads and rocky mountains. And the ox cart was the answer to this urgent economical need.

Coffee shipments to London were transported from the plantations to Costa Rica’s Puntarenas (Costa Rica main Pacific ports) on a small road throughout the whole XIX Century. Oxen were used as the weight was massive and other animals could not take the weight in these sort of roads.

The tradition of originally painting these carts began in the early XX century, when owners and drivers decided to add color to ox carts by hand painting them with bright colors and figures like triangles and curls.  After the World War II, the cart was replaced with cars, trucks and of course with the trains and since then it has been used  as an ornamental object.

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Our Costa Rica Pura Vida, the oxcarts and other symbols

In our Costa Rica Pura Vida theme we use the ox cart and its decorations in several parts of the decor, from a real ox cart to napkin holders painted in the same style of the ox carts. They come together with our typical dresses, the classical “cimarrona” (Typical Costa Rica band), the “gigantes” (Typical papier-mache giant masks and dancers) and some of our most typical dishes.

Why is it important for us?

As you may already know, Costa Rica has been in the “Happy Planet Index”, considered to have the happiest people in the World, and coincidentally, that is the strongest comment we receive from our visitors from all over the World, never mind how gorgeous our land, forests, rivers and beaches are, the best of Costa Rica are actually the friendliness, the joy, the relaxing fun moods, the permanent smiles and the usual caring spirit of the Costa Ricans.

And that is why, for us, at Premio DMC is so important to share the culture and traditions, as the core of our heart  lives in the sounds, the colors and smiles of the people who actually make this country a treasure to cherish and share.

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