Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture in Costa Rica Date in the current year: September 4, 2022

Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture in Costa Rica The Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture (Día de la persona Negra y la Cultura Afrocostarricense), also translated as Black and Afro-Costa Rican Culture Day, is a public holiday in Costa Rica. Its official date is August 31, but festivities are usually held on the following Sunday.

The population of Costa Rica is mostly white and mestizo (people of mixed European and Indigenous American ancestry). According to the 2011 census, only 6.7% of Costa Ricans were of mixed African and European ancestry and 1.1% were Afro-Caribbean or Black.

Most Afro-Costa Ricans descend from Afro-Caribbean migrant workers who came to Costa Rica in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, some of them are descendants of African slaves brought to Costa Rica during the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Most Afro-Caribbean laborers who came to Costa Rica from Jamaica, Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua settled in Limón Province. For a long time, they were not permitted to travel outside Limón and were not recognized as Costa Rican citizens. These restrictions were lifted in 1948.

By that point, the Afro-Caribbean community had firmly established itself in Limón Province, and many of its members chose not to leave Limón after receiving the permission to do so. Some of them didn’t even know Spanish and only spoke Limonese Creole, a dialect of English-based Jamaican Patois. Since then, however, the situation has changed, and today Afro-Costa Ricans live in all seven provinces of the country.

The Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture was established by the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica in September 2021 and was celebrated for the first time on September 4, 2022. The official date of the holiday is August 31, but celebratory events are held on the following Sunday.

The date of August 31 was chosen to commemorate the First International Conference of the Negro Peoples that was held in New York City in August 1920. Organized by Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, it resulted the adoption of the Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World.

Costa Ricans have observed August 31 as Black People’s Day (Día del Negro) since the 1980s. In 2020, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed August 31 the International Day for People of African Descent, and the next year, it became a public holiday in Costa Rica.

The biggest events dedicated to the Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture are held in Limón Province, regarded as the home and heart of the Afro-Costa Rican community. They include the annual Festival of Black Culture that showcases the region’s traditions, music, dance, clothes and cuisine.

The Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture is a non-mandatory payment holiday, which means that employees who are paid on a daily or weekly basis are not entitled to pay if they are given a day off on the occasion of the holiday. If they do work during the holiday, they receive their ordinary pay.

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Category

Public Holidays

Country

Costa Rica

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Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture in Costa Rica, holidays in Costa Rica, public holidays, Afro-Costa Ricans