5 Things To Know About Christmas In Puerto Rico

5 Things To Know About Christmas In Puerto Rico

Feliz Navidad

Christmas is absolutely awesome! For most people, the season is full of sharing, gifts, family, and friends. Now that Christmas Day has passed (crowd sighs), I'd like to share a little bit about what Christmas is like in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico!

¡Feliz Navidad!

1. It basically starts on Thanksgiving and ends about mid-January

The Christmas season is one of the best times of the year. So why not make the most out of it? Thanksgiving is basically the acceptable day to start with Christmas music and stuff in Puerto Rico. While many put up the tree earlier, the majority start setting up for Christmas that week.

The Christmas season in Puerto Rico is characterized by the music and the festive spirit of the people. It is a time to spend with loved ones; your close family, your extended family, and your friends.

2. We go on Parrandas

Think of these as Puerto Rican caroling. During a parranda a group of people comes together, everyone grabs an instrument and they head on over to someone's house and play Puerto Rican Christmas songs. The family comes out and joins in the song and many times the whole group is invited into the house, people bring food and drinks, they'll whip up something in the kitchen, and it's a great time of just being with family and friends. In other cases, the group then goes on to someone else's house and continue the parranda.

This can occur anytime and anywhere as you can see in the videos below, but normally it occurs around evening or night-time.

3. Three words: Three Kings' Day

Before Puerto Rico became part of the US and adopted Christmas, Puerto Rico belonged to Spain from which we adopted Three Kings' Day. Three Kings' Day celebrates the three wise men (kings) who brought gifts to Jesus at the nativity. Only a few countries other than Spain celebrate this holiday: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and Argentina.

In a way, it is basically a second Christmas Day; there are gifts, a tree, Christmas food, and family, the whole deal. Every year, Three Kings' Day is celebrated on January 6. However, the night before, kids have to go out and fill a shoe box with grass to feed the kings' camels. Sort of like leaving cookies and milk for Santa.

Many cities in Puerto Rico host festivals and parades on Three Kings' Day to celebrate the event. The most famous of these is held in Juana Diaz (video below). Normally people from around the island gather, three men will dress as the three kings and give out gifts to children. There's music, food, and it is a lot of fun!

4. Christmas is about spending time with your family, all of it!

In Puerto Rico the majority of people wake up and open gifts around the tree and such with their family (mom, dad, and siblings, in some cases). Later in the day, most people get in the car and meet up with the rest of the family with mom and dad's side of the family. The point is to spend such a festive day with those you love most and who love you most; your family.

Many times this varies from family to family. However, the majority of Puerto Rican families opt to spend Christmas Day and Three Kings' Day with both direct and extended family.

5. Christmas food goes all in!

Food plays a big role in the season. Once you start smelling the pernil you know it's Christmas. Pork and plantain-based foods play a big part of the menu, coquito would be analogous to eggnog in the mainland US, and arroz con dulce is God's gift to mankind.

Below are pictures of just a few of the dishes seen during the Christmas season in Puerto Rico. Trust me when I say that they all taste amazing and they are part of what makes the season unique.

So that's a short summary of Christmas in Puerto Rico. If there is a Puerto Rican in your life celebrate this season with them, you might learn a thing or two and you will definitely have fun!

For more on how Christmas in Puerto Rico check out this article and click translate on your browser.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Cover Image Credit: WallpaperMania

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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