Festival de la Luz 2010!
The much anticipated Festival de la Luz (Festival of Light) in San Jose completes the illumination of the capital’s Christmas lights. Smaller ceremonies marked the lighting of the Children’s Hospital and Children’s Museum earlier this month. The festival was started by the Municipality of San Jose in 1996 with the aim of providing a traditional family festive event. This is the fifteenth year of the celebrations; with each year’s festival being bigger and better than the last! This year promises to be no disappointment to fans – twelve decorated floats will parade down the Paseo Colon and Avenida Segunda to compete as the Most Shining Float. Competition is fierce and both Universal Store and the Parque de Diversiones, who have won the prize three times each in previous years, will be hoping that they can topple 2009’s winner ICE (the national electricity company) from the title. Floats are also judged on originality and other categories.
Local Marching bands and choirs provide the musical accompaniment to the parade; more than one thousand musicians are expected to participate this year. They will also take part in their own Most Shining competition, amongst others. Cheerleaders, acrobats and circus performers will all add color and flair to the parades.
San Jose’s popular and newly re-elected Mayor, Johnny Araya, announced that this year’s celebrity participants would be the well-renowned Costa Rican Sculptor, Jorge Jiménez de Heredia, the actress, Maribel Guardian and CNN journalist, Glenda Umaña, who have previously led the parades. Successful Costa Rican sprinter, Nery Brenes, will be the mariscal (conductor) of this year’s festival, following a tradition of the role being given to Costa Rican citizens who have shown the country in a positive light, but the other invitees are to play a similar role. Last year, the entire Under-20 National Soccer team was given the honor after their success in competition in Egypt. The Mariscal(s) will lead the parade in antique vehicles.
Two million Costa Ricans are expected to view the televised event from the comfort of their own homes. Those who intend to brave the crowds and see the event live are advised to wear comfortable shoes and to take extra clothing for the night chill, such as gloves and hats. The temperature though, will be relatively mild to those visiting from countries currently blanketed in snow! While the event should be well-policed, it is obviously not wise to attend with anything of value with you.
The theme of the 2010 Festival is ‘The Dreams of Carnival’ which is inspired by the Rio de Janiero Carnival but with Costa Rican cultural elements.
The 2010 Festival of Light is held on Saturday, 11th of December from 6:00 pm in front of the Gimnasio Nacional and end in the Plaza de Democracia. Fireworks will be released and then the colorful and animated parades will begin!