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The Meaning Of Pura Vida

What is the meaning of Pura Vida? 

A common phrase in Costa Rican slang, the literal meaning of Pura Vida is “Pure Life“.

Where did it originate?

A theory for the exact origin of the phrase is it was created in the 1956 Mexican film “Pura Vida.

The main character of the movie, played by comedian Antonio Espino “Clavillazo”, frequently uses the phrase to positively describe people, things, and actions as “good” or “nice”.

Why?

No one really knows the origin of the phrase in Costa Rica. But, according to researchers at the University of Costa Rica, it’s a case of migrant words that settled in Costa Rican Spanish.  

Pura Vida became widely used in Costa Rica in the 1980’s as a result of the country’s peaceful atmosphere. This was in stark contrast to the rest of war-torn Central America at the time.

How do you use it?

In general, you’ll hear the phrase all the time – it essentially embodies Costa Rica.  You can find it plastered on signs, menus, clothing, and almost any souvenir within the country. The meaning of Pura Vida is about seizing the moment and enjoying life.

You will hear it being used as a greeting, in the middle of a conversation, or after someone has said or heard something that is deemed exciting. It is a phrase that has a “one-size-fits-all” usage.

 

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