We Say puravida

Published on noviembre 3rd, 2015 | by UReporter


The Not So “Tico” Phrase

By Paula Stephanny Jimenez Castrillo 
ULACIT´s Industrial Engineering Student

            If there would be a way to describe my country in one word, I wouldn’t think about it twice and say “Pura Vida”. The meaning of this word basically symbolizes the idea of enjoying life and being happy. However, there is a story that describes the phrase as not so “tico” after all.

            “Pura Vida” was a Mexican expression of eternal optimism used by a comic character named Gilberto Martinez Solares. He was a Mexican public figure that starred in a 1956 movie called “Pura Vida”; it was there where he constantly repeated the phrase during the film with the meaning of “good” and “nice”. Throughout the years, the word has been spread, and it is now very common to relate it with many Costa Rican business names such as hotels, real state agencies and restaurants. More importantly, it is an idiomatic expression, and it has been found in Costa Rican dictionaries during the last fifty years.

            Every language, even if it’s rich and expressive, has always had, and will always have the necessity of acquiring new words that will come from immigrants and foreign countries. In fact, Mexican cinema has greatly contributed with different words such as “lana” that can be defined as money, “maje” as dude and the famous “mariachis” that play serenades. These are some examples of immigrant words that with time, have settled in Costa Rica’s culture. It is easy to explain how words have evolved and changed along the years through the way we have modified the lexemes and the phonemes of some of them.

            You may be thinking the same as I am, how a word like “Pura Vida” became our logo. It can also be described as our identity and representation. The peaceful atmosphere that characterizes Costa Rica by opposing wars and army, were the reasons that prompted the socialization of “Pura Vida”. It also gives an attribute to people, things and action among “ticos”. As I mentioned before, the use of this phrase is used to say hello, goodbye and to say everything is okay. However, it is not the word that reflects the true meaning of this phrase, “Pura Vida” is the way we live. Not surprisingly, Costa Rica has been named one of the happiest countries in the world just because we have a simple way of seeing life.

            It has been shown that “Pura Vida” is a word that truly represents our country, way of expression and our being. It identifies our country with humbleness, abundance, joy, happiness, and optimism. You will not truly know what “Pura Vida” feels like, unless you visit Costa Rica. Once you’ve visited it, you will understand the true meaning of this amazing word that characterizes our beautiful country.

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