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Puerto Rico
Important Traditions in English


Los hechos básicos
La Historia/The History
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Puerto Ricans and Americans celebrate many of the same holidays such as Martin Luther King Junior day, July 4th as an Independence day and also Thanksgiving, but there are days that are celebrated in a uniquely Puerto Rican way such as Christmas.

Puerto Rican Holidays
This day occurs during Lent, and many people wear "vejigantes" or masks because they want to scare people into behaving during Lent.
July 17th: A day when many Puerto Ricans Photocelebrate  Luis Muñoz Rivera, who was an important popular leader many years ago
March 11th: A day when the end of slavery is celebrated
July 25th: Puerto Ricans recognize this as the day when they first had a Constitution as a Republic. Those that want independence from the United States protest on this day.
Some Puerto Ricans protesting for Independence(
September 23: The day when rebels declared independence from Spain. In Lares city, some people re-enact this rebellious declaration.
June 24: On this day Puerto Ricans celebrate their patron, San Juan Bautista. There is a myth that says that at midnight, San Juan Bautista gives a blessing to all Puerto Rican water. All over the island, many people walk backwards towards the ocean.
January 11th: This day is called 'El Día de Eugenio María de Hostos." On this day, people remember the writer that protested against slavery.
Puerto Ricans speaking of  Eugenio María de Hostos (



A Puert Rican Christmas Song (
Las Navidades                              The Christmas Season
Por fin llegaron                              It's finally here!
las Navidades                                The Christmas season,
las fiestas reales                             In regal splendor,
de nuestro lar.                                 Has blessed our home.
Fiesta de todos                               This wonderous fiesta,
nuestros anhelos,                           So deeply yearned for,
nuestros desvelos                         Our nights our sleepless,
y nuestro afán.                                With great desire

The songs and food are central to a Puerto Rican Christmas. Several weeks before Christmas Day, many Puerto Ricans decorate their houses with lights, Christmas trees and Nativity Scenes. Christmases begin on the 15th of December and end on Three Kings Day on the 6th of January.

A photograph of  villancicos many years ago (
During Advent, there are "villancicos" or people that sing carols while others listen. There are also those people that participate in a different Puerto Rican tradition. One villancico begins to sing and walk to the house of his neighbor. His neighbor offers him food and drink and then the two of them  join and walk singing to the next house. At the last house there is a large group of villancicios and the entire neighborhood has a party.

On Christmas Day, children receive presents from Saint Nicolás and the families and friends talk and eat. A very popular food is "léchon asado.' (roast pig, chicken, rice and pigeon peas). Although Christmas Day ends, the festivities continue with the "Day of the Innocents". This is a tradition that includes Puerto Ricans acting as Herod's soldiers and "kidnap" the oldest sons of each house. For other Puerto Ricans this day has become our "April Fools".

The Three Kings Days celebrates the three kings that gave Jesus Christ gifts when he was first born. Puerto Rican children receive gifts as well on this day and many people pray near statues of the three kings.

Reyes Magos Three Kings Navidad

Puerto Rico