Feliz Semana Santa (Happy Easter Week)


Happy Hump Day, Yeah!

Y’all know what time it is?!?  Oftentimes, folks don’t celebrate some of the Christian based “holy days” because they are believed to be founded in “pagan cultures”.  I can understand their concerns.  Yet, as the African Americans who experienced slavery in the “usa” did, many oppressed people found vehicles in the controversial religions they were forced to accept to find some solace, some serenity … some peace!  Shucks, some of us even got fancy and founded an “Underground Railroad” utilizing stanzas from church songs as their signals to escape the inhumane life found on most plantations for the “slaves” … Peace be still!

One quick comment about the lifestyle in Puerto Viejo … we get a lot of mold on our belongings, clothes even!!!  Yes, yes, at first, it turned me off!  I was like, “Mold on my $100 blue leather shoes from Barcelona!?  Hell naw!!”  Should I abandon a good place to heal and live “la pura vida” because my blue leather shoes keep growing mold in the more wet weather?!?  Not an option!  So, as I do with my leather belt before putting it on my moldy smelling jeans, which I often hang outside on the breakfast nook to air out, I grab my trusty rag (an old sock or t-shirt) and wipe the bad boy off!!  I had packed my Princeton beer jacket away in a suitcase, hoping that mold wouldn’t grow on it … Think again, “Einstein”!  I had mold all over my cap and the jacket!!  I shook them out well, as I have learned to do most of my clothes one or twice a week, and am hoping to get a good wash at one of the laundromats that charge to wash and dry your clothes by weight.  So be it … one of life’s simple circumstances.  The good thing is, I wear shorts and swim trunks every day … and I go to the beach … every day!  So, my pin striped suit is hanging on the door and my $100 black wing-tip Spanish leather shoes are still tucked away in my “shoe locker”, which may also covered with “rain forest” weather mold!  I am staying anyway … here in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limon, Costa Rica!

Most of the Spanish (Catholic) based countries in South America, including Colombia where I lived for 5 years, celebrate “Easter Week” or “Semana Santa”.  It corresponds with “Spring Breaks” in other countries like the “us” and the schools are closed for the entire week.  There are multiple celebrations, depending on where you are in South America.  When I lived in Cali, Colombia, South America, Semana Santa was serious!  People lined the streets, no traffic in Cali, and each person had a candle in their hand which was lit by the candle flame from the person immediately next to “you”.  And the chain of lit candles “wormed” through the streets until finally the procession of “Saints” constructed of large wooden figures finely and ornately decorated to commemorate their role in the Catholic faith for these people are carried by human hands and shoulders past the waiting throngs of celebrants!  One year, my mother came to visit me in Cali for Semana Santa and she was in awe at how beautiful and peaceful the processions were, not to mention the people!  Here in Puerto Viejo, I have yet to see exactly what takes place.  Right now, people are flooding the small streets and the huge beaches with families and grills, some cooking out for a day and others camping out for the week!  I’ll keep you all updated for Friday!

So, sending out peace and blessings to those of you who do something on Easter … or Semana Santa!  Find some reasons to love each other during this historically traditionally festive time.  Make it work for YOU and YOURS!


John I. Cook, Director

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