By Ivo Henfling
Costa Rica Real Estate,The Catholic Church, getting dunk during Easter and confession. You´ll ask yourself what this is all about. Well, real estate in Costa Rica went on vacation as all city realtors were at the beach and all beach realtors in San Jose. I tried to get hold of an couple of real estate attorneys for clients on Monday, but to no avail.
I'm born and raised Catholic, but that's about all the religious effort I will ever make. During my first years in grade school, the teachers would keep track of the Sundays we would attend mass. I've found early in life that religion doesn't do anything for me. I'm happy without, though I believe there's a God, whatever his name is. My first wife spent her days praying, while forgetting about her husband and children, so I got enough of that. I like eveyone to have their own believes and not to bother me with it. I'm sure religion does a lot for many and I'm happy for them.
Costa Rica is by Constitution a Catholic country. Also by constitution, a religious organization doesn't have to pay any taxes. For many years, the Catholic church found themselves safe from intrusion by other beliefs. I don't remember seeing any Catholic churches being built since I have arrived in Costa Rica 30 years ago. During this time, all the new and old Protestant and any other religion imaginable have gotten foothold in Costa Rica and even have their own political parties now.
For the first time in a long time, the Catholic church woke up and organized a mass confession for those who wanted to go to the beach and drink and eat themselves silly during Holy week. The Archbishop of Costa Rica, monseñor Hugo Barrantes, when out into Central Park last week, together with 20 priests, to promote confession, so Tico's could get drunk during Easter week and still end up in heaven. I still remember those days that we had to confess and people were standing in line to do so and the priest would do two at the time. Those days are long gone now. No more lines, except at the toll to get to the beach.
A confession chair in Martinus church in Weert
Hotel owners are complaining about bad business because of the world crisis. The Catholic Church worries about its followers. The local beer factory and those who import whiskey and rum don't. During Easter week, you can see promotions of all kinds of liquor everywhere, business thrives. But on Holy Thursday and Good friday, Costa Rica has "Ley Seca", or Prohibition.
The Catholic Church still has all this power over the Costa Rican government to hold on to a law that was created prbably in the 1800's (I can't find the creation date on the internet anywhere) and still holds so that Tico's can get drunk and tourists have to stay sober. So during Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the government orders commerce to cover all liquor to be covered by sheets. No liquor can be sold until Saturday. Unless you know where they don't.
A tourist enjoying his Imperial beer after two days of Prohibition
Even Minister of Security, Jose María Tijerino critisized the prohibition and admits that he already bought his beers well ahead of the shutdown. "In my personal opinion, he says, this law is provoking that our citizens are accumating liqueor at their homes and then drink it all".
Not that I can't live without "booze" during Easter week. But to my opinion it is pretty ignorant to tell a tourist on vacation in Costa Rica in the year 2011, while Jesus died 2011 years ago, that they can only get a coke or a "papaya en leche"...... while the Costaricans get drunk anyway....I ask myself why is there not one assembly woman/man in the National Assembly who raises a question on this issue and gets this stupid law abolished?
Last 2010 elections, someone was intelligent enough to get the prohibition abolished for the elections, but that was in their own interest, someone needed the people to celebrate. Isn't it time though, to think of those who generate income to the country, the tourist?
Don't you think it's weird to keep up this old law? Feel free to leave your opinions below.
I stayed home to work on my website and write some articles for the blog. I had one real estate showing on Saturday before Easter of a horse property for sale in Turrucares de Alajuela and I received no calls from other buyers. I did receive two emails from sellers to go list a property but I left that for another day.
Ivo Henfling, your "catholic" realtor in Escazu