Puerto rica holidays: National Holidays in Puerto Rico in 2022

Holiday Traditions in Puerto Rico

The parrandas navideñas are one of the favorite holiday traditions in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico takes pride in having the longest holiday season in the world.

On the Island, la Navidad lasts around 45 days, starting right after Thanksgiving Day in November, extending through mid-January, and culminating with the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, also known as la SanSe.

Since the holiday season is not so much a sprint as it is a marathon, here are some traditions you should know to get in the spirit of the occasion:


parranda or trulla is the boricua version of a Christmas Carol. Friends and families gather in front of a house – usually after 10:00 p.m. – with instruments like panderos, maracas, güiros, cuatros, and guitars to sing aguinaldos (traditional Christmas songs).

The idea is to surprise the household, so the parranderos round up as quietly as possible and then break into song with the intention of waking people up with joyful and jubilant music. It is a tradition for the household to offer refreshments and then join the group to bring the party to the next house. Sometimes, parrandas can last until sunrise.

Learn more about music in Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, Nochebuena trumps Christmas Day.


For most Puerto Ricans, Christmas Eve or Nochebuena trumps Christmas Day. This is the night where family and friends gather for a traditional dinner, exchange gifts, go out on parrandas, or take a drive to enjoy the Christmas decorations around town.

Many Puerto Ricans will attend a midnight mass known as Misa de Gallo, where they welcome Christmas as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus. Some churches even reenact the Nativity scene.

The holiday menu in Puerto Rico includes local favorites like pernil, arroz con gandules, pasteles, tembleque, and arroz con dulce. 

The Menu

The classic holiday menu consists of arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), lechón asado (spit-roasted pork), and pasteles (tamale-like patties of green banana and meat). Side dishes might include potato salad, pasta salad, or morcilla (rice-stuffed blood sausages).

The traditional Christmas dessert is tembleque, a coconut-based pudding topped with cinnamon, and, instead of eggnog, they have coquito, a coconut-based thick drink usually served in shot glasses.

Learn how to make coquito

On January 6, Puerto Rico celebrates Three Kings Day or Epiphany.

Three Kings Day

On January 6th, Puerto Rico celebrates el Día de Reyes or Epiphany, a commemoration of the visit the Three Wise Men made after Jesus was born. The night before, children around Puerto Rico gather grass or hay in shoeboxes and place them under their beds for the Magi’s camels or horses in exchange for presents. For over 135 years, the town of Juana Díaz has celebrated a festival and parade that gathers over 25,000 people for the occasion.

Learn more about Día de Reyes in Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans decorate their homes with a festive and joyful atmosphere.

Christmas Décor

Puerto Ricans usually put up their Christmas trees and decorations by Thanksgiving and don’t take them down until mid-January, so the Island feels especially magical during the holiday season. With town squares and houses lit up with Santa Clauses and snowflakes as well as local designs like jibaritos, Puerto Rico turns into a tropical winter wonderland where every corner is a photo opportunity.

The Octavitas is an extension of Christmas where people continue to have parties and revelry.


The eight days after Three Kings Day are known in Puerto Rico as las octavitas, an extension of Christmas were people keep throwing parties and going on parrandas. Originally, the octavitas were parties of a religious nature and were used to glorify the Magi and Jesus with songs. Usually, this period ends with Puerto Rico’s most vibrant and colorful festival: las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián or la SanSe.  This music-filled cultural jubilee marks the official end of the holiday season.

Learn more about Puerto Rico’s celebrations

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Traditions and Holidays | Puerto Rico

September 23, 2014 by Rebecca Cronauer Dischman
Cultural Traditions

[Untitled photograph of tamales]

Food Many of the restaurants on the island are considered to be “Fondas” or small cafeteria like places that offer generous portions for reasonable prices. Both tourists and locals enjoy these types of restaurants. “Arroz con gandules” or rice with pigeon peas is a typical dish as well as Pasteles are tamales, which are made from plantains that are stuffed with meat. Their breakfasts are very light. An example of a typical breakfast would be “café con leche” or coffee with milk. Dinner is the biggest meal and if there is a visitor the family will insists that they stay. It is considered to be very rude to reject this offer. Dessert is also a big part of a meal. Many of these ingredients are grown on the island. A popular dessert is called “Polvo de Amor” or love powder. To make this simple recipe, one would mix together coconut and sugar and put it over high heat for about five minutes. Puerto Rico is also known for its rum. The Bacardi family moved their company from Cuba to Puerto Rico in the 1930’s (Puerto Ricans, 2009).

However, a lot of the food has become very Americanized. While they still prepare traditional meals, many of its ingredients are imported. In large cities, fast food chains have become very popular (Puerto Ricans, 2009).

 Traditions One tradition in Puerto Rico is how they name their children. They go by their first, fathers last name, and then mothers last name. Usually, they are both used when addressing people. However, to avoid confusion, they typically drop their mothers’ family when they are in America (Puerto Rican Americans, 2009).

Another tradition is for people who practice Catholicism. The first traditional celebration is baptism. Soon after the child is born, they become baptized and there is a lot of emphasis put on the “padrinos” or grandparents. The second large catholic tradition is the First Holy Communion. Funerals are grieved in a similar way as the United States (Puerto Ricans, 2009).

When parents die, the land and property are still usually transferred to the eldest son. However, the eldest daughter also has many rights in this area. Most American traditions have been passed to Puerto Rican culture. An example of this would be how they celebrate holidays like Christmas and Independence Day (Vigil, 1996).

Holidays Each town has it own holidays to celebrate its patron saint by hosting carnivals, masses, dances, and concerts. However, the main Puerto Rican celebration is on San Juan Bautista Day on June 24. At midnight, the participants go into water fully clothed to bring them good luck (Puerto Ricans, 2009).

Other traditional Puerto Rican holidays include Three Kings Day (January 6), Constitution Day (July 25), and Discovery Day (Novemeber 19). They do celebrate all American holidays. For example, Independence Day (July 4), Veterans Day (November 11), Thanksgiving (Last Thursday in November), and Christmas (December 25). On these holidays, they celebrate by hosting parades. (Santiago-Irizarry, V. 2001). On Christmas day a tradition is to do “asalto” or “assault.” This is when people go door to door and sing carols called “aquinaldos.” After being sung to, the family will join the group and move on to the next house (Puerto Ricans, 2009).


Music and Dance The most popular kind of music in Puerto Rico is Salsa. Two very popular Puerto Rican musicians are José Feliciano and Tony Orlando and Julian. They do listen to a lot of American music (Puerto Rican Americans, 2009). The young enjoy going to bars to listen to music and dance in their free time.

Sports and Entertainment Baseball is the most popular sport. Many famous baseball players have left Puerto Rico to play in the American major leagues, the most well known being Roberto Clemente. There are also six professional winter league teams that many Americans play in. Other popular sports include horse racing, boxing, and basketball (Puerto Rico, 2004).

Another popular form of entertainment is The Tapia Theater in Old San Juan. This has hosted the Taller de Histriones group and “zarzuela” or comic opera troupes from Spain (Puerto Rico, 2004).

Folk art, Crafts, and Hobbies A well known type of craft is called “santos.” These are carved religious figures that have been made for over 400 years on this island. Another popular craft is “Mundillos or tattered fabrics which is a lace craft that too has been made for a very long time. Some of the musicians make “cuatros” or four-string guitars and other crafts people make “caretas or paper- mâché masks for various festivals (Puerto Rico, 2009).



References →

Tags: Cultural Traditions, Holidays, Traditions

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  • all about rest in Puerto Rico: Reviews, Councils, Guide

    Where to go /



    Antalya Luxury

    Puerto Rico is quite a beautiful and peculiar country, visiting which will be very interesting, even for tourists with long experience and rich travel experience. And this applies not only to nature, culture, sights, but everything that can be seen here. Judge for yourself. An island state in the Caribbean, next to the Dominican Republic, but administered by the United States, using US dollars in circulation and in fact almost being its fifty-first state. By the way, a few years ago there was a referendum on this subject, in which most of the country’s population spoke in favor of joining the United States as a new state. However, no final decision has yet been made on this matter. This close relationship plays a significant role in the development of Puerto Rico, although the per capita income is significantly lower than the US average. Nevertheless, these are very good figures when compared with neighboring states. And the tourism industry brings a considerable share of the profits to the state treasury. About four million tourists visit Puerto Rico annually, mostly from the United States. read full

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    Antalya Suite

    Since Puerto Rico is wholly under the control of the United States of America (although it is officially considered an independent state), and the legal system of this country is based on American law, to enter it is necessary to open a US visa, which is issued at the embassy or consular departments of this country. Since visitors to this site are citizens of different countries, and not just the Russian Federation, I will add that for some countries there is a simplified system for entering the country, under the Visa Waiver Program «VWP» . I will now write a list of countries included in this program so that readers who have citizenship of one of them do not have to deal with a long procedure for applying for and obtaining a US visa.

    Australia, Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Greece, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal , Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Estonia and Japan.

    For citizens of the above countries, you must obtain permission through ESTA (Electronic Entry Automation System). After obtaining this permission, you can visit the United States, Puerto Rico and other countries that are subject to the US visa regime for up to ninety days. Upon arrival in one of these countries, passports… read more

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    I must say that the majority of tourists, not only among our compatriots, but also all those who come here, make their trips on their own. First of all, from the fact that our travel companies do not organize mass tours in this direction, and those small companies that offer holidays in Puerto Rico sell far from cheap tours. I specifically rummaged through the Internet and looked at what is offered in this regard. For some firms, a ten-day stay in one of the hotels in this country, with a flight and a standard hotel program, starts from five thousand dollars. Comparing the prices for flights, accommodation in this hotel, food and other expenses, it turns out that for the money they ask for a tour, you can go around and see all the most interesting places in this country, stopping for several days in each of them. True, there were also companies that offer a trip from more than a thousand dollars, but this is quite a standard vacation, in an ordinary hotel, on the seashore. Apparently for this reason, tourists go to Puerto Rico on their own. I must tell you that independent travel is much more interesting and the point is not at all whether it is cheaper or more expensive. As they say, the process itself and the buzz received from such a trip are important. I agree that with young children, this type of recreation can create some difficulties, but with the right approach and organization, it is quite possible to do this, maybe not with such a wide view of the sights, but … read more

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    We bought a package (flight + hotel) on the Expedition from America website. We opted for a 7 day tour. Two couples flew, one with a child. We were placed in different hotels, so the price of the packages was different. Their flight to New York and accommodation at the Marriott hotel, friends with a child (under 5 years old) cost 2.5 thousand dollars (a plane ticket for a child is at full price, hotel accommodation is free). The second tour for two and the Acacia Boutique Hotel cost $1,600. We flew to San Juan, so the beach area with hotels in the city was not far from the airport. !0-15 minutes by taxi cost us 30 dollars for all.

    Tours in San Juan are few, offering trips to Old San Juan for $30, boat trips to the islands $30 to $60, and a full day rainforest $40 to $70. We went to San Juan twice on our own. The first time in the evening by taxi (20 dollars), the second time for the whole day — by bus (75 cents)

    The restaurants here are of different levels, the average price of a dinner (full, with drinks and snacks, hot and coffee) is up to 30 dollars. You can have a bite to eat in ordinary fast foods, pizzerias, small local cafes from 8 to 11 dollars for lunch. Coffee and light breakfast in a cafe or shop (good coffee machines, hot pastries and sandwiches) from 3 to 5 dollars. All groceries, cigarettes, coffee, wine, fruits are cheaper in Puerto Rico than in the USA.

    Puerto Rico has many casinos. In the evenings, a lot of people gather in good hotels. Most people spend time at slot machines where you can bet from 1 cent. By the way, fairly fair slot machines — a good percentage of winnings.


    Useful information?


    Vacation in San Juan, September 2016




    Living in the USA, we decided to fly with a group of friends to rest in San Juan Puerto Rico. People who live in the United States for holidays choose the islands that are located in the south of South America. One of the overseas possessions that belong to this country is Puerto Rico. It was interesting to fly to the rest of a very green island and a wonderful first-class seaside resort. A very good option to go on such a vacation is best at the end of September, when, although it is hot, it is not as strong as in summer. Puerto Rico is a small island with a lot of sun, beautiful beaches, lots of green plants and beautiful palm trees. Of course, the best option for a holiday would be the resort town of San Juan. I can’t say that this is a cheap town, but it would be best to immediately book hotel rooms and take transport from these hotels. Or rent a car for a company.

    I think that going to this region with a company will be much more interesting than going alone or with children. Take a walk around the green city, spend time on the beaches, there is also an opportunity to save money in different establishments.

    There is no better option than to spend a romantic vacation for two at such a resort, but you need to spend a lot on it.

    In Puerto Rico, the most important thing to take is more money, and then: 1) a camera; 2) a backpack for the journey, swimming trunks and a mask with a snorkel and fins, sports shoes; 3) glasses and a bag of mini-fridge for water.

    The best option for the settlement will be the areas «Las Marías», «Ocean Park», «Biascoechea», where there are most different hotels for recreation. One of the good and inexpensive hotels is «Coqui del Mar Guest House», «Tres Palmas Inn», «Isla verde guest house», where you can relax with a company. Large pools are made on the territory of the hotels, since most of the beaches in the city are rocky and this makes it possible not to go far.

    Very beautiful and colorful San Juan impresses with its flowers, green palm trees, clear blue skies and the turquoise color of the Caribbean Sea. San Juan is considered the most respectable resort in the Caribbean and the main rival is the city of Miami. The city has a Spanish flavor with different names in this language. The city looks very clean and well maintained with beautiful colorful houses. In the city there is an opportunity to get to some kind of holiday, as there are many of them. Lots of free shows. You can go to the rainforest outside the city, but it’s better to take a guide. Be sure to visit the Arecibo Observatory, which is very large and beautiful.

    Due to the fact that the beaches are rocky, it is not so easy to get to a normal beach.

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