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Boyero’s National Day Photography

Last March 10 was the Costa Rican National Day of the Boyeros – the nickname for the farmer that commands the oxen and oxcart – and there was a big celebration in the town of Escazú in San José. I was there having a fun morning of photography.
The oxcart, a celebrated Costa Rican symbol of work, was declared Oral and Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO in 2005, an international distinction intended to raise public awareness of the value of popular and traditional arts, crafts, rituals and mythologies.
This important tool was of economic importance for the young nation in the 19th century in transporting freshly harvested coffee from the Central Valley to a Pacific port for export.
Today it is a colorful national treasure that most Costa Ricans proudly display, and some still use since the double oxen and cart system can work land that no tractor could.
Look at the photos I took of this year’s celebration, and hopefully you will want to join me next March for an exciting photography tour. We will celebrate this tradition and also photograph more nature and culture in the north part of Costa Rica and in Nicaragua.

The parade started with a traditional Mascarada, a group of big masks of scary but funny characters and a big band accompanying it. The parade started with a traditional Mascarada, a group of big masks of scary but funny characters and a big band accompanying it.

The boyero vocation has no age or high... This boy wasn't even as tall as the bulls, but he was definitely in charge. The boyero vocation has no age or high… This boy wasn’t even as tall as the bulls, but he was definitely in charge.

Three main elements give life to this tradition: The oxen, the boyero and the oxcart. Three main elements give life to this tradition: The oxen, the boyero and the oxcart.

The beautiful decoration of the oxcarts is part of this tradition. Many hours are spent painting each part of it. The beautiful decoration of the oxcarts is part of this tradition. Many hours are spent painting each part of it.

Oxcarts are a piece of art, but they are a tool to, they are made for hard work. Oxcarts are a piece of art, but they are a tool to, they are made for hard work.

And as time goes by, and the oxcarts are use for hard work, they just look more beautiful. This oxcart was almost 100-years-old and still running! And as time goes by, and the oxcarts are use for hard work, they just look more beautiful. This oxcart was almost 100-years-old and still running!

To train and teach the bulls to walk and work together is a big effort. To train and teach the bulls to walk and work together is a big effort.

From very young, the bulls are kept living side by side, and carrying some wood on their heads to get use to the yoke. From very young, the bulls are kept living side by side, and carrying some wood on their heads to get use to the yoke.

And then, they need to learn when to walk and when to stop. And then, they need to learn when to walk and when to stop.

Once the lessons are learn, it is all friendliness. Once the lessons are learn, it is all friendliness.

And style... And style…

A lot of pride too. After all, it is a craft that very little people still use and know. And a lot of pride too. After all, it is a craft that very little people still practice and know.

The town of Escazú filled with pride this March to celebrate this amazing tradition. Hundreds of boyeros and oxcarts filled the town's main road. The town of Escazú filled with pride this March to celebrate this amazing tradition. Hundreds of boyeros and oxcarts filled the town’s main road.

And everybody came out to watch and enjoy. And everybody came out to watch and enjoy.

6 Responses

  1. Gurusurya says:

    I LOVE this!

  2. mqcphoto says:

    Oh my friend!
    You would take amazing photographs in something like this! I can see them!!!

  3. Ed says:

    I’m starting to see how your eyes see. Such a great combination of close and overalls.
    Wonderful……and we shall return.
    Ed

  4. Peggy Poggio says:

    Lovely photos. It reminds me of the end of the Independence Day Parade last September with the oxen and oxcarts, but this is obviously a lot more of them. Thank you for sharing, as you always do so graciously.

  5. mqcphoto says:

    Thank you Ed! This is the kind of photography that drives me crazy! Come down to go crazy with me!!!

  6. mqcphoto says:

    Thank you Peggy! Photographing these parades are always fun! This one definitely had a lot more than what we saw together last september!

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