Puerto Rico's Christmas Tradition
Puerto Rico celebrates Christmas with many traditional culture activities It enriches the events of the holiday since this island has given diverse attraction to other places; history is written by the political strategies of other places wanting to govern it…”take over”. It has been a commonwealth of the United States since 1952. Because of that Santa Claus came to the panorama and has not been able to change our tradition completely.
Christmas is the celebration of our great Jesus, the son of God, born to show us God’s love. Jesus came with a purpose and was fulfilled the 33 years He lived here on earth as a man like you and me. Born, crucified to death, resurrected and came to us by the Holy Spirit. Wow!!! The mere words of saying it brings a sensational feeling of uniqueness…God, our creator giving His child just for us!!! That means that we must be very special to Him.
The issue of Jesus’ birth date shouldn’t trouble because this time of the year has been separated, and that is what really matters. It is not when…it is that it is being done. Isn’t it fun to have our own birthday celebration; then why not give our Savior the honor of being happy for all that He did and still does for us?
Let me share our Christmas traditions; the way we honor God’s gift.
“Noche Buena ”
The 24th of December families reunite, and at a certain time of the night sharing of gifts takes place materializing love as God did with us. Many houses in these modern times will have a Christmas tree. The tree represents nature (earth); the little lights represents Christianity, which lightens the world; and the star on the top represents God illuminating the world.
“Parrandas or Matutinos”
This is one of the traditions that has been changing but still keeps the main objective. People meet in a certain place and from there they all appear at some houses in intervals singing in front of the door. Usually it is at midnight to wake them up. The last house usually greets the people gathered with chicken soup.or Pasteles
Puerto Rico has so many typical dishes that at Christmas you just can not control weight because you will be eating everywhere. "Pasteles" are an indispensable dish. The recipe is included in this link: Pasteles Recipe.
There is no way you will reject a glass of this exquisite drink. Made of coconuts very easy to make. Try the link for the recipe: Coquito Recipe
Tres Reyes Magos
The three king men's day is celebrated on January 6th. Under the bed we put a shoe box with a typical flower that comes out in December with some grass for the camels to eat. Instead of Santa Claus, the kings leave presents inside the box.
Christmas is year round and we Puertorricans don't want to end the festivity of Jesus' birth, but responsibilities call us so we push eight more days called "octavitas". This link explains more of our traditions: Puerto Rico Christmas Traditions
Flower Used For The Three King Men's Day
May God bless your days!
© Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill