Family in Costa Rica
The culture is still generally conservative and retains the “machismo” system. Men and women are expected to act differently from each other, and to respect their roles. While a large proportion of Costa Rican women are professionals and hold important positions in both businesses and the government, most still retain some traditional practices.
Costa Ricans are reverent Catholics, as are most Latin Americans. A host of evangelical churches emerged in the 1970’s, but nearly 80 percent of the population remains Catholic (even though only about 20 percent of the Catholics attend mass regularly).
Young people don’t usually leave home when they go to university but stay with their parents until they are married. Children often join parents for social engagements. Parents often join the children for birthday parties. Most birthday parties include siblings and parents of the child invited and this is to be expected when receiving an invitation unless otherwise stated.
Father is head of the household as in the traditional family system. He is the decision-maker; the authority figure and often taking prime responsibility for decisions for those that are subordinate to them.
Extended family is very important in Costa Rica. Often grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles are all part of the extended family, helping out other family members when needed.
Nepotism is widely acceptable in business in Costa Rica as well. The owner of a company will often employ family members and close friends. Family reputation may be important to the establishment of business relationships.
Family ties are still very strong, and traditions revolve around the family from the moment of birth to that of death. Some immensely important family traditions are baptisms, first communions, engagement parties, weddings and funerals, which are attended by the extended family as well as by friends and their family members.