Greeting/Farewell – Costa Rica

Costa Rican Greeting/Farewell/Philosophy of Life

“Pura Vida”

“Pure Life”

“Full of Life”*, “Purified life”*, “This is living!”*, “Going great!”*

My friend Mari and I were each working on individual assignments together, her on a research paper and I on my folklore collection. The fact that it was late and we both had our deadlines looming caused us both to be stressed out and nervous about finishing on time. Whenever Mari got frustrated at her progress or fed up with working, she would mutter “pura vida Mari, pura vida.” After a few times of hearing this, I asked her what it meant and she replied, “Pure life.” She went on to explain that “pura vida” is something started by Costa Ricans, but is now used by most Spanish speakers, that represents a philosophy for a stress free way of living. Mari said that people in Costa Rica say to it one another in passing, both as a greeting and as a farewell. The phrase goes beyond a simple salutation, she said, and is actually how people try to live their lives, without stress or worries. In Costa Rica, those two words generate feelings that emphasize “strong community, perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly, celebrating good fortune.”*

I understand the meaning and connotation of the phrase but do not necessarily see how two simple words could be a philosophy for life. For me, I need a little more to go on than just two words for the way I wish to live my life. However, if it works for the Costa Ricans, then that is all the matters in the end.


“Culture of Costa Rica.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 30 Apr 2008, 00:07 UTC.

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