Annual Festivals Celebrated in Puerto Rico

Annual Festivals Celebrated in Puerto Rico

Annual Festivals Celebrated in Puerto Rico
As a town with Catholic roots, many of the festivities usually include masses and processions. Then the zandunga and gozadera begin with music, dancing, food, parades and so on. Below we bring you four annual festivals that we celebrate in Puerto Rico throughout the year and that you definitely cannot miss.

San Sebastian Street Festivals
The San Sebastián street festivities began to be celebrated during the 1950s in commemoration of this saint, sentenced to death for refusing to renounce his faith. The party was organized in order to raise funds for the church at first, but by 1970 it was organized by the residents of San Sebastián street to benefit a school on the same street.
This party is celebrated on the third weekend of January, beginning on Wednesday and ending on Sunday in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. There you can enjoy parades of vejigantes, cabezudos and stilt walkers dancing the bomba and the plena.
Typical gastronomy, handicrafts, theatrical and musical shows, and beautiful people are also present at this party attended by thousands of Boricuas and tourists, being one of the most important cultural events in Puerto Rico.
This is why we Puerto Ricans are known for celebrating the longest Christmas in the world.

Patronal Festivities
The festivities of the patron saint are celebrated annually in each municipality of the country, in honor of the patron saint of each town. This religious festivity used to be celebrated for 10 days, although currently it is only celebrated for four days in the town square. Masses and processions are held to honor the patron saint and activities such as horse parades, for example, games of chance, typical Puerto Rican gastronomy, live music, attractions and machinas.

Bomba and Plena Festivals
Bomba and plena festivals are held around the island, in places like Santurce, Loíza, and Ponce. This festivity is a family and collaborative space where musicians, artists, teachers, and lovers of bomba and plena come together to dance and enjoy Puerto Rican food and crafts.
The bomba is a musical genre that represents the struggle and resistance of African and Afro-Puerto Rican slaves, being an activity in which they sing, play percussion and dance. The alternating singing between the soloist and the choir together with the sound of the drums or barrels, the beating of the wood of the drum with the sticks called cuá and the maracas make it impossible to sit still in these cultural and musical-dancing events.
The plena, on the other hand, is a combination of African and Spanish musical traditions that originated in the sugar-producing regions of Puerto Rico in the 19th century, mainly around the Ponce area. This genre, known as a sung newspaper, details events and protests by the Puerto Rican people. Tambourines, drums, maracas, clarinets, guitars or trumpets are the instruments you will need to form the party. The bomba and the plena represent spiritual liberation, entertainment and a form of rebellion against the oppressors of our ancestors.

Festival of the Masks
The mask festival is celebrated in December in the municipality of Hatillo, Puerto Rico. This festival is in commemoration of the Holy Innocents, that is, the children killed by King Herored's men, who were looking for the newborn baby Jesus, a story from the Bible. People dress up in colorful masks to parade through the main streets of Hatillo until they reach the public square where there is food, music, artisans, and activities for everyone. The masks represent the king's soldiers walking the streets looking for the baby Jesus. You can also see floats, all-terrain cars and decorated horses that are evaluated according to their originality when they arrive at the square.

You are now up to date with some of Puerto Rico's annual festivals. Plan yourself and be part of each of these festivals that represent the history of Puerto Rican culture and let us know how you did by tagging us. :)
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