THE PARADE OF THE BOYEROS (COW HERDERS)

Boyero dayEvery year the village of Escazú celebrates the Day of the Cow Herders (Dia Del Boyeros), in grand style. Over 150 oxen and their owners participate in a parade which travels through the streets of San Antonio, Escazú.
The oxen and their owners come from many places all over Costa Rica, such as Cartago, Grecia, Coronado and Pacaya, to join the celebrations.

The community of San Antonio, Escazú has celebrated the ¨Dia Del Boyeros¨ for 22 years and according to the Association of the Revival of the Traditions of the Boyeros, this year’s celebration was the greatest success yet.

This celebration always takes place on the second Sunday of March and this year, attractions included awards for the most traditional carts and oxen. All of the awards were donated by people of the Municipal of Escazú which demonstrates the support this festival has within the community.

To make sure traditions are maintained the parade always follows the same route, through the Municipal of Escazú to the church of San Antonio. Once at the church men, women and children all join in and celebrate with the animals.

Boyero dayThe farmers not only use the oxen in the parade but to sow the fields in the traditional manner. In the past the oxen and cart was also a useful method of transport that helped to maintain the every day life in many places in Costa Rica.
The mayor of Escazú, Marco Antonio Segura believes that the Department of Culture and the efforts and respect that the people of Escazú put into the up keep of the oxen and carts is fundamental in maintaining the identity of the village, as well as helping to up hold the traditional customs of the Costa Rican people.

A Total Tradition
Humberto Madriz Guillén from Paraíso de Cartago went to this year’s parade with his three oxen. Guillén uses the same oxen to sow sweet potatoes, tomatoes and sweet chillies on his farm. He has been coming to celebrate the ¨Dia Del Boyeros¨ in Escazú for five years. All of his family attended the parade and Guillén commented that the journey from Paraíso to Escazú was worth it to maintain old traditions and to demonstrate the pride the farmers have in their work.

Eliécer Quesada Morales also from Paraíso de Cartago, has been attending the ¨Dia Del Boyeros¨ for nine years and is a member of the National Foundation of Cow herders. This year Quesada paraded with two of the best oxen who pulled typical cart of the area. The cart was particularly special because it was made 45 years ago.

In fact this type of cart is especially good for the parade as it is very beautiful. Its size, drawings and structure all add to its beauty. These are all things that also make it different from the types of carts that were used on the Hacienda estates.

Quesada believes that organizing and having these types of festivals in communities strengthens the traditions of the cowherds. These traditions were nearly lost but parades such as that at Escazú have help to reinforce them and again give them a place in the countryside. Now there are around 10 thousand active cowherds in the country, who are all proud of their work.

A Family Custom
The Fallas Quirós family arrived at the parade this year with 5 oxen. They had travelled from Atenas to participate in the parade. For them it is a family tradition to attend all such celebrations in different towns in the area. Ana and Antonio Fallas Quirós with their children spend years raising these types of animals and to them the oxen are like family.

A child who stood out in this year’s parade was Ronald Guzmán. At 5 years of age Ronald was the pride and joy of his Grandfather, Mariano Guzmán. For Mariano it was a great honour to see his grandson walking alongside the oxen, especially as Ronald was the only one out of 11 grandchildren to participate.

Other activities
San Antonio de EscazuThe folklore group Alma Tica, from the San Antonio School in Escazú took charge of heading the parade. Their motto ¨Rescue the values¨ has a significant meaning to all the participants.

More than 30 children participated in the parade, wearing typical clothes from the areas of San José, Guanacaste and Escazú. This group of children helped to thank the local people who aided with the organization of this celebration.

The significance the ¨Dia Del Boyeros¨ has in Escazú is obvious; it is a day for all to be proud of the customs and traditions of country way of life.

COSTA RICA FESTIVAL CALENDAR

Costa Rica Flag
Festival Date
January
New Year’s Day 1
San José: Copa del Café.  
Santa Cruz, Guanacaste:
Santo Cristo de Esquipulas.

 
February
Buenos Aires in the Southern Zone:
Fiesta of the Diablitos.
 
March
San Antonio de Escazú:
Día del Boyero (Ox-Cart Driver’s Day)
 
San José:
National Orchid Show International Arts Festival
Carrera de la Paz (marathon attracts as many as a thousand runners)
 
Ujarrás:
Fiesta of the Virgin de Ujarrás, religious procesión
 
April
Anniversary of the Battle of Rivas 11
Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday  
Alajuela:
Juan Santamaría Day (fiestas are held in honor of Costa Rica’s national hero)
 
May
Labor Day 1
San Isidro (any town of this name):
San Isidro Labrador Day
June
Countrywide:
Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s Day
July
Annexation of Guanacaste Province 25
Nicoya:
Annexation of Guanacaste (to Costa Rica in 1824)
 
Puntarenas:
Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea
 
August
Assumption Day, Mother’s Day 15
Cartago:
Virgin of Los Angeles (known for her miracles)
 
San José:
Afro-Costa Rican Culture Week
 
September
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste:
Festival Marino
 
October
Día de las Culturas (Columbus Day, Carnival in Limón) 12
Puntarenas:
Regatta at Costa Rica Yacht Club
 
Limón:
Columbus Day Carnival
 
November
Countrywide:
International Surf Tourney
 
Central Valley:
Coffe-Picking Tournament
 
December
Christmas Eve 24
Christmas Day 25
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