Ox Cart Parade in San Jose (In pictures)

Every year in late November or early December there is a colorful noisy and typical invasion in San Jose capital city: Oxcarts invade the city. More than 270 carts passed by San Jose on Sunday morning for the amusement and the fun of thousands of Costa Ricans and dozens of lucky tourists that happened to be in the city for the event.

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There was a time in Costa Rica, when oxen, horses and carts were part of the daily life of every single city and town. The wood drumming sounds were usual and the animal aromas were not even noticed.

Coffee ruled economy and in order to take coffee to the port of Puntarenas we needed carts. Why with oxen? Why not horses, mules or donkeys?Have you ever seen our mountain roads in the rainy season? There is one word for them: mud.

And in order to take our muddy roads, going up and down the hills with coffee loads, they used the strong and patient oxen.

They came to be so important in our society and for our history that towns were found for the oxcarts to stop to rest, to stop to eat, to stop and have a siesta.

They started colored in red to avoid rust, as the painting for this was red, and then, when the convoy started they used to put flowers on them, until someone thought about painting with colors as a way to permanently decorate the carts.

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When this started, in San Jose, the carts used to be painted with triangles, and the ones from the mountains used to have curls. Nowadays they mixed and several people paint each cart, each one with their own decoration so that they can be totally unique.

They are still used in very few places, but for all of us the sound of the oxcarts is the sound of our own hearts, of our history and our roots.

Nowadays, and every year, in late November or early December there is an oxcart parade in San José, celebrating these historical animals and carts as a part of the basis of our country and our history.

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