Its use is widespread in Costa Rican culture and is used both to say hello and goodbye and to indicate that everything is perfect or going well, in friendly and informal contexts.
Some attribute the origin of the expression to the 1955 Mexican movie áPura Vida!
Comedian Clavillazo, the protagonist of the film, repeats the phrase constantly throughout the movie, which ran for two weeks in Costa Rican theaters in 1956.
However, University of Costa Rica researcher Víctor Manuel Sánchez Corrales has found evidence of its use as early as the 1940s.
The Costa Rican Tourism Institute has carried out several promotional campaigns in recent decades that have ‘Pura vida’ (pure life) at their core, accompanied by images or videos of the exuberant nature of this nation, home to about five percent of the world’s biodiversity.
This combination of words has also become a philosophy of good living in Costa Rica, which ranks among the top 20 nations in the so-called World Happiness Report.
Although the country is going through more convulsive and less fortunate times than when the best known expression of its inhabitants was born, today ‘Pura vida’ continues to accompany Costa Ricans as a sign of their carefree attitude towards problems and the ability to overcome adversity.
(Taken from Orbe weekly)