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Capitanía Del Puerto

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In 1913, the ship El Galileo sank offshore in Puntarenas and her crew was miraculously rescued. Upon reaching land, the sailors said that a woman visited them to give them strength and food, which is why, according to them, they survived. The story goes that, to the surprise of the fishermen, when they went to the church in Puntarenas, the Virgen del Carmen who was in the temple was the same as the woman who helped them during the mishap.


As of that date, the Catholic Church of Puntarenas celebrates the Virgen del Carmen festivities, under the invocation of Virgen del Mar.


Don Hermenegildo offered a promise to God and the Virgin, if she came out of that storm alive, when death appeared on her fateful face and roared from the bowels of the ocean sea. Faith in God works miracles, and the miracle arrived, already in Puntarenas, the Captain narrated the facts to the Presbyter José Daniel Carmona, the promise was fulfilled to the letter.


Given the history lived by the crew of that ship on the high seas, a tradition of celebrating the festival in honor of the Virgin, now called Virgin of the Sea, was consolidated in the month of July of each year. In this way, it is that the porteños have their own party. Previously, the image of the Virgen del Carmen was adorned with colored garlands and in litters the sailors moved it from the Barrio El Carmen to the Parish.


Later, it was transferred from the temple to a boat chosen for the tour. It was decorated more beautifully than the rest of the boats and led the parade.



The Chinese community had already settled in Puntarenas since the 19th century and had already participated in the maritime procession since the beginning of the festivities in 1914.​

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The Chinese community introduced new, more showy ways of decorating boats. In this way, with colored paper, gigantic swans, dragons and fish were made with which they decorated a boat representative of this sector of the population of Puntarenas.


Small and large fishermen usually take out their boats, leaving the Muellecito and in a group they made a journey like a procession in the sea. In a symbolic way, the owners of the boats paid a symbolic tribute to the Virgin, money that was collected by the organizing committee of the festivities to cover the needs of the parish.


Today, fishermen continue to pray to the Virgin of the Sea to give thanks for the fruit of her work and confidently ask her to protect them every time they leave the port and travel the seas in search of their livelihood.


The Virgin of the Sea has a special meaning for the people of Puntarenas. She is named as "Patroness of the Diocese of Puntarenas" in 1998 being the first bishop Monsignor Hugo Barrantes. In 2003, a proposal was presented to the Legislative Assembly for the Virgen del Mar to be considered Patroness of the Province of Puntarenas.


Sources: Giselle Chang, et.al. Our worldview: beliefs, practices and rituals (San José: Coordinación Educativa y Cultural Centroamericana, 1999), p. 151.
-Clear González Valdés. "Don Hermenegildo Cruz and the festival of the Virgen del Mar". The Free Press. (San José, C.R) September 25, 1998, p. eleven.
-UCR Social Action: Traditions of Costa Rica


- Observations and correction of data by Mr. Oriester Abarca. May 16, 2014. 

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