Costa Rica 2 : the Bribris
This people of Central American that can be found in Costa Rica and Panama are reputed to have emigrated there a very long time ago, although nobody knows when, from the Caribbean Islands.
They have a distinct Negroid appearance that tends to confirm this hypothesis and places their migration at the earliest around the 17th century.
We went and visited the Bribris living in the east of Costa Rica.
As far as they are concerned, the cocoa tree is sacred and so is the cocoa pod, the fruit of the cocoa tree.
To such an extent that the Bribris would never use the wood of the cocoa tree as kindling.
Neither do they burn the beans sending the smoke up to the gods, like the Kuna do (see Panama).
On the other hand, they do like to consume a chocolate drink simply made with ground, roasted cocoa beans diluted in water.
They regularly drink this concoction at home as well as during certain festivities that strangely resemble those of the Kuna.
- 1. births
- 2. when girls reach their puberty
- 3. marriages
- 4. deaths
It is interesting to note that the Bribris have a clan structure, where each clan has a special mission or task.
For example: the clan of the kings
It was this clan that supplied kings. Was, because it seems that they all died from poisoning during the period when there was much investment in banana plantations.
There is also the clan of shaman, called AWA, the clan of leaders, and so on.
We met a representative of the clan of leaders who explained that she had a motivational role in the community.
According to this lady, the clans were created when the god SIBU took several different grains of corn and made man out of them.
The god SIBU chose amongst 4 types of cocoa:
- 1. TSURU = cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
- 2. SKUARU = pataste (Theobroma bicolor)
- 3. TSORO = simiarum
- 4. = heridania
with TSURU he created a sacred tree associated with the mother goddess who became his wife.
It goes without saying that this parallel of the use of cocoa by the Kuna during their ceremonies will be studied in detail by Choco-Story.
This seems to be the case too with the Kabecas in Costa Rica, whom we will be visiting at the earliest opportunity.