SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Sunday January 7, 2018 – Puerto Rico has been a popular destination for tourists alike because of its perpetual party persona. The sun is always shining, the water is always welcoming, and the people know how to live life to the fullest. Puerto Rico’s resorts and vacation spots are bigger and better than ever. Naturally, this also means that every celebration in Puerto Rico is sure to surpass all expectation.
Festival de Dia De Reyes
One of the most important days on the Puerto Rican Calendar is El Dia de Reyes, or Three Kings Day, which takes place on January 6th. While this holiday is traditionally filled with family gatherings, it also includes a day full of celebrations and parades across the island. Typically, every year, hundreds of natives and tourists alike gather in Old San Juan as the Three Kings travel from Juana Diaz, Ponce and make their way around the island. When the Three Kings arrive in Old San Juan, a huge festival commences with live music, plenty of delicious food and beverages, and gifts distributed to children. This year, after Hurricane Maria, there is a slight change in logistics, and although Old San Juan will still be festive, the actual events will be taken to several towns of the island where the Three Kings will arrive to distribute gifts to the children and holiday cheer to all. This festival is the highlight of Puerto Rico’s entire holiday season, and will definitely keep you feeling festive all winter long!
San Sebastián Festival
One of the biggest Puerto Rican festivals in San Juan is the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián or the San Sebastián Festival. The main event takes place on San Sebastián Street in Old San Juan every year on the third weekend of January. Come and experience this magical event on any or all of the four days it is taking place this year: Thursday, January 18th – Sunday, January 21st. The festival celebrates Saint Sebastian, a Christian who died a martyr for his religion. While it is still rooted in the rich heritage and history of Puerto Rico, it has evolved into a much larger spectacle. Like a Puerto Rican Mardi Gras, hundreds of thousands of people gather for a multitude of live concerts, a huge parade, dance performances, food, drink, and artisans showcasing their crafts. But the party really begins after the sun goes down.
Carnaval de Ponce
We’ve all heard of Brazilian Carnival; well, meet it’s lesser-known cousin. The Carnaval de Ponce (or officially Carnaval Ponceño) originated over 200 years ago and takes over the entire historic downtown area of Ponce. This spirited event takes place every year for an entire week, concluding the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival features live music, food and drink galore, a parade for the King and Queen of the Carnival, and the Burial of the Sardine to symbolize the ridding of sins and welcoming the season of Lent. This year’s event will be taking place Wednesday, February 7th – Tuesday, February 13th, and the estimated attendance of this event is over 100,000 guests. The Carnaval de Ponce is similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, and the Carnival of Venice. Fair warning: missing this festival will result in serious FOMO.
Heineken Jazz Festival
Another fine occasion to enjoy some unbridled revelry, this festival, while on the newer side, has already gained regional and international attention. The Heineken Jazz Festival, taking place in March this year, showcases up-and-coming Jazz talents and emphasizes Puerto Rican music styles and Latin Jazz. While the exposure is great incentive, the ultimate prize is the Jazz Scholarship. It has continued to gain popularity and has awakened many to the rich musical history and culture of Puerto Rico.