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National holiday tomorrow as Costa Rica celebrates Juan Santamaria Day

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April 10th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Friday, April 11th, is a mandatory paid holiday in Costa Rica.  The date marks the Second Battle of Rivas, which occurred on April 11th, 1856, between Costa Rican militia forces under the command of General Mora, and the Nicaraguan forces of William Walker, who had declared himself president of Nicaragua that year.

 

Juan Santamaria – the only Costa Rican to have a national holiday declared in his honor – gained his martyrdom in the battle, and Pancha Carrasco became Costa Rica’s first female soldier.

 

Santamaría, a drummer boy from the town of Alajuela, had volunteered for his country’s impromptu militia; his moment of glory came when the commanding officer asked for a volunteer to set fire to El Mesón de Guerra — the filibusters’ stronghold. Santamaría, torch in hand, fulfilled his patriotic duty. He approached the hostel and tossed his torch onto the thatched roof. This caused the enemy to flee, even though Santamaria was cut down by sniper fire in the process.

 

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS), reminds employers that no worker can be forced to work on April 11th without their consent (although there are exceptions for essential workers).

 

Those who do choose to work must receive double pay, and those who take the day off must be paid their standard pay rate for the day.

 

The law applies both to domestic and international companies in Costa Rica equally.

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