Having been living in Costa Rica now for over 9 years, it can be said that without a shadow of a doubt…family is EVERYTHING!
Families here are large and close knit. Being predominantly Catholic, the tiny nation of 4.2 million relies heavily on its family bond.
Whether its a marriage or a birth of a child, the Catholic church in Costa Rica calls the shots. If you want the baby baptised then you will be required to take a 3 month long course on parenting. But thats not all…you’ll have to attend with the future “padrinos” of the child – which is the Godparents. They have to be married in the church and even then more than likely they will also have to attend the course to “brush up” their parenting responsibilities.
Then there’s getting married in Costa Rica. Much of the same including an 8 week long course on the sanctity of marriage and that it entails. Again you must have another couple who’s married by the Catholic church who can act as your Godparents for the marrying couple.
All of this shows the importance of the family bond here.
Weekends and holidays are time for the family with many families opting to visit the country or beaches to spend quality time with their family and forget the stress of the week and all that might include.
More often than not this bond amongst families can become overwhelming for foreigners coming here who’ve seemed to of lost this connection over the years in North American society. On the other hand it can also be an attracting factor for which many move here – to regain that lost connection with their own families.
It is not uncommon for the Ticos to host house fulls of family members for a spontaneous BBQ or even something as simple as coffee and bread/biscuits. Nor is it uncommon to see grown adults still living at home over 30 years of age with their mother’s taking care of them from laundry to cooking their meals. It’s a totally different culture here than back home and personally I’ve come to quite enjoy it.