Since July 2022, an initiative “Festival of the Sea” has emerged as a brand and framework for a permanent cultural action that seeks to contribute to “recognizing ourselves as communities of the sea through coastal marine cultural expression activities, youth diving with a purpose that we use to get to know it and take care of it.” and children’s expression activities for the coastal school population through drawing, songs and stories.

The Festival seeks to place the centrality of the sea in our coastal marine life and the national territory to regenerate our sense of marine identity, contribute to caring for and healing with the sea and its ecosystems that give us sustenance and continue deepening the weaving of a community thread almost invisible, but very strong, that the sea has on the life of the planet and its coastal communities.

The initiative that emerged within the Ambassadors of the Sea has an Organizing Committee made up of them, the Tajo Chirripó family, the UCR Caribbean headquarters and the SINAC environmental education program in school activities, as well as support from the Municipality of Talamanca.

These activities, carried out mainly with community resources and volunteer work. Individually and collectively, it had complements from the UCR headquarters Caribe, Tajo Chirripó, UNOPS, Fredrich Eber Foundation, One Hand Hardware, Coral Reef Restaurant, Rotary Club of Limón, the Municipality of Talamanca and a source of inspiration that is the new artistic creation of a new project proposal that recovers the place of the sea and the waters of the planet in the changes that the human species needs to continue living on a planet in which our species has already reached its biological limit.

Context of the Sea Festival

The Sea Festival takes place in a context in which the new government’s Culture Plan has cultural work with communities as a priority. Internationally, the Festival of the Sea takes place within the framework of the confluence of two important declarations of the United Nations that converge in the event and in the world. The end of the Decade of African Descent(2015-2024) and the beginning of the Decade of the Oceans (2021-2030).

Given the composition of its Organizing Committee of our Festival del Mar, the event contributes to continuing to weave the ties of sustainability that are made possible when activities are articulated by actors from civil society, academia and private companies with the support of local and national municipal authorities. government and those who dare to join as sponsors or collaborators.

Additionally, the intergenerational and multiethnic composition of the Organizing Committee ensures the continuity over time of the coastal marine cultural legacies of the Caribbean and its interaction with initiatives in the Pacific. Locally, one of those connections that mark the focus of the Festival is the one provided by the ambassadors of the sea and their collaborators in their community search for the identity of the Danish slave ships – The Fredericus IV. and the Christianus V. – that arrived somewhere in our Caribbean by mistake heading to a slave port in the Caribbean islands.

Faced with the desperation of the crew who no longer had food and water, they mutinied, burning one ship and leaving the other adrift until it crashed on the reef, after releasing some 650 Africans on the coast and setting up captains and sailors. on a barge that would take them to Portobello in Panama with 22 enslaved Africans. The Festival’s activities include narratives, videos and music about that event that deepens and expands the history of the arrival and presence of our Afro-descendant population to the Caribbean in coastal marine communities. Everything is told by Tona Ina, an ancestral character created literary to tell the story.

Activities developed by the Sea Festival

A “Treasures of the Sea” Drawing Contest with the participation of 11 coastal schools that produced collective canvases alluding to the sea. It culminated with an artistic opinion from a jury made up of three artists from the Province of Limón, from which the 3 winning schools were recognized, but all the schools were awarded for their outstanding participation. The intra/school awards, recognition and dissemination event took place on December 16 at the Escuela Excelencia Cahuita.

Contest closing activity: A Carroza/comparsa “Todo Vino del Mar” at the end of August, in the heat of the parades in Cahuita and Puerto Viejo to commemorate the International Day of Afro/descent on August 31. We organized a float alluding to the female deities of the sea and waters according to the mythology of ancestral indigenous and African cultures. The float included a troupe made up of a dozen Afro, Bribri and Cabécar women of all ages, who paraded each representing goddesses chosen by them.

There was a native song made for the event by Francisco Murillo from Oceana – “Ellas Son el Mar” – to the rhythm of which the goddesses with their ancestral dresses and white umbrellas with the names of the deities, paraded through the streets of Puerto Viejo and from Cahuita behind the boat “FUERZA”, decorated with a celestial light from Tona Ina (Marine Light in Yoruba) and allusive banners “Here everything came from the sea, they are sea, we are from the sea.” In the heat of the events, the CCBEM got the group KAWE to translate and produce the calypso “Barcos Hundidos” into Caribbean Creole. Additionally, the students of the Cahuita Complementary School, along with Danny Williams and led by their music teacher, performed calypso at end-of-year school events.

They held their own workshops in which the students made the ancestral quijongo and learned how to use it: MCJ Workshop Scholarships, 2022: E Quijongo Caribeño, an ancestral instrument. Construction process, execution of the Quijongo Caribeño instrument: Final Concert: Playa Chiquita Punta Uva Educational Center. Music and interpretation of musical themes by Dany Williams: composer, singer-songwriter and director of the group Kawe Calypso.

On October 19 we organized a Cahuita Cultural Archaeological Trails Sea and Land visit with 5th grade students from the Cahuita Complementary School to the archaeological sites in the Cahuita National Park. In October we organized at the Coral Reef Convention Center in Cahuita the Forum: “Living in Peace: Women’s and the Environment’s Rights” which featured five presentations by women who combined the interterritoriality, interculturality and intergenerationality that characterizes the Canton of Talamanca.

A concert by two singer-songwriters, Guadalupe Urbina and Maf Tulá  “Sonanado y Sanando* celebrated the struggles of the women of Talamanca against the violence that is experienced in the canton and that has worsened in its multiple forms of harassment, rape, domestic violence , among other. In the heat of that event, between October 15-18, Guadalupe Urbina, toured five of the coastal schools, creating songs alluding to the Caribbean Sea with the students in four of them. Highlights, among other things. the fact that the children of the coastal Caribbean have integrated that in our seas there is marine biota, but also culture and history. Additionally, childhood not only produced content and sang and accompanied it with rhythms that were also played by instruments that accompanied it with instruments.

Playa Chiquita School Song:
Río Negro School Song:
Cahuita Complementary School:
COMADRE School in Cahuita:

The great concert “From Sea to Sea, from Coast to Coast” had to be postponed. It would take place in front of the reefs of Puerto Viejo along with the children’s play activities and youth discovery diving that were scheduled for October 22 and 23 in Puerto Viejo. The Organizing Committee will evaluate with the artists the best time to reschedule it, avoiding the problem that remains due to water.

In November, under the artistic direction of the Limonense muralist Andrés Sevilla, the children and staff of the “Wolaba” House in Puerto Viejo created a mural of the sea on a wall of the soccer field in front of their premises in the center of Puerto Old. The event was integrated into the Festival.

On December 1, the Sea Festival presented a float alluding to Tona Ina, the sea and its reefs, and scuba diving with a conservation purpose by Ambassadors of the Sea at the Christmas Festival of the Municipality of Talamanca in the streets of the capital. cantonal in Bribri. This has brought to a close a year that has intensified cultural action through community cultural stewardship that contributes to affirmi the founding native cultures of a coastal area that is characterized by its cultural and biological diversity bequeathed by the original cultures and becoming the mists culturally diverse area in Costa Rica, comprised today of over 52 natonalities.

The youth stewardship being developed in an intergenerational way is also contributing to the historical continuity of the original cultures and their interaction with the current multiculturalism in the area.

2023 Projections

Several initiatives proposed for 2023 that have emerged from the richness of the 2022 experience.  As a simple list to convert into a work, accompaniment and support plan, we can list the following:

  • The four musical productions by Guadalupe Urbina with students from the Complementaria Cahuita, Playa Chiquita, COMADRE and Rio Negro schools have resulted from a typical artistic quality of Guadalupe, combined with cultural and environmental knowledge (integrating cultural and biological wealth). that Caribbean childhood brings to the songs.  It is worth producing them professionally to return them to schools, networks and media, as local educational material and share it with the country and the world as part of the recognition of the place of the sea and communities in policies on addressing climate change.

• Francisco Murillo’s song, “Ellas Son el Mar”, also of high quality, requires a “workshop” with the 12 women who represented the goddesses of the sea, with the aim of expanding the verses with their contribution and producing it professionally. to disseminate and for the PARADES of 2023 and other events referring to the place of the seas and waters of the planet in ancestral culture and what it tells us about the challenges for our species that has devalued its own life by devaluing the place of women and of the waters.

It was completed in 2023!

• The “Sunken Ships” calypso requires urgent audiovisual production. Its disclosure in May 2023 in the heat of Expedition 2023 with the CR Museum and archaeologists from Denmark and Japan is key to affirming the place of community underwater archeology in the process of scientifically establishing the identity of the two shipwrecks of slave ships from 1710 that exists in the PNC and that will change the history of Costa Rica.

It was completed in 2023 by UNED!

• The Report of the Forum and Concert, already transcribed, deserves to be designed, produced and published for dissemination, given the relevance of the issue of violence against women in the southern Caribbean at this time. A Talamanca Women’s Agenda has emerged with this and other process in 2023!

• We seek to create a school educational material – a book – with all the cultural products and pedagogical proposals for use in schools. Inputs in music made on site, youth stories from Tona Ina in Cahuita (UNFPA workshop), drawings from the contest, etc.

The initiative was undertaken and developed sucessfully by University of Costa Rica and Centro Comunitario Embajadores del Mar with 8 schools in 2023!

  • We will provide continuity to the float “Ellas Son el Mar” in August, 2023.
    Done successfully!

• An offer of translation and publication of the book “Tona Ina, the Mysterious Light in the Caribbean Sea” for the year 2023 by a USA university. While this will happen in 2024, a new book by María Suárez Toro, Oceanic Earth  has been published at the end of 2023 in Puerto Rico.

The book in 2023!