Celebrating Christmas in Puerto Rico? Wondering what to do? We’ve got some great ideas for you!
Christmas in Puerto Rico is all about relaxing and enjoying the simple things in life – food, drink, music, dancing. Celebrations in Puerto Rico begin in early December and continue through mid-January, ending with the San Sebastian Festival in Old San Juan.
Interested? Here’s everything you need to know about Christmas traditions in Puerto Rico.
Almost every Puerto Rican community offers a Christmas festival where people gather together to enjoy food, drinks, music, and dancing. Often times families travel across the island to enjoy festivals in neighboring towns. The biggest and most attended festival is the San Sebastian festival in Old San Juan, which also marks the end of the Christmas season. It’s an enormous 4-day event that features live music, delicious food and also houses many vendors and artists.
Similar to Christmas caroling, parranda is when family and friends gather together – with instruments – to sing and share holiday cheer with their neighbors. Traditionally, a group of vocalists surprises an unsuspecting family at night with a holiday serenade. Then, they invite that family to join them in their walk to the next house. The songs and music are always upbeat. And, as more and more families are surprised and invited to join, the group grows larger and larger. It’s a really fun event that embodies the Christmas spirit.
Food and drink
As with most holidays and festivities, food and drink are at the center of Christmas in Puerto Rico. Tables are full with blood sausage, Spanish sausage, slow-roasted pork, and tamales. Rice with pigeon peas and sweet rice are also popular dishes this time of year. Coconut pudding rounds out the menu.
For drinks, a special cocktail called coquito is often drunk this time of year. It’s a Puerto Rican version of egg nog. Recipes vary widely, but basic coquito calls for coconut milk, cream of coconut, condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and rum.
Three Kings Day
Although Puerto Rican’s observe Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they typically don’t exchange gifts or have a big celebrate until Three Kings Day which coincides with the Epiphany. Three Kings Day marks the days the Three Wisemen brought presents to Jesus after he was born.
On January 5, the Eve of Three Kings Day, children place freshly cut grass in a box under their beds just as many children leave cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. Then, January 6 – 8, Puerto Rico explodes with joyous Christmas cheer, in celebration of Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar.
If you want to experience Christmas in Puerto Rico, book a stay at the Fajardo Inn. We’re at the center of all Puerto Rico’s Christmas celebrations, and just a short drive to Old San Juan which is beautifully decorated for the holiday season. Book your stay today.