The month of December, particularly around the Christmas season is one of the most anticipated times of the year in the entire world.
Many celebrations, events, and festivals take place during this time.
Christmas time is crucial to the Puertos. They commemorate the birth of their savior Jesus Christ. Down in Puerto Rico, Christmas is known as Navidad.
It takes place uniquely among the people of Puerto Rico.
Misa de Aguinaldos
Most Puerto Ricans follow the Catholic faith. Misa de Aguinaldos are Catholic Masses held from the 15th to 24th December. They take place at around 6 am for those ten days. Songs fill the air during these masses.
The instruments played in this festive season include:
- Cuatro (a Puerto Rican guitar)
Spectacular Christmas Eve
The night of the 24th December is special to the Puertos. This evening is more important than Christmas day itself.
The eve is commonly known as ‘Nochebuena.’ It is during this time that the main festivities happen. There is usually a joyous mood everywhere.
The serving of the main Christmas food occurs during the eve. Besides, songs and dances add up to the festive moods.
Christmas Day (Navidad) is when the people relax from the activities of the previous night. At midnight, there is a special mass held. It is known as Misa de Gallo, which means ‘mass of the rooster.’
According to tradition, families should attend this mass and take part in the celebrations.
Christmas carols known as ‘Parrandas’ are very common among the people of Puerto Rico during the Christmas season.
In the evening, at around 10 pm, they gather in groups and visit different houses while singing the carols.
Those who participate in this fun exercise are known as ‘Parranderos.’ Mostly, the singing ends at the break of dawn.
The fun part is that; as they visit each house, those who are woken up by the singing should join the crowd.
As more people join in the singing, so does the group grow in number.
The people also sing traditional Christmas songs and play them on their instruments.
Special Christmas Meals
In Puerto Rico, the main Christmas meals include:
- Roast pork (lechon asado) – Rice and pigeon peas accompany the roasted pork.
- Platano (plantains)
- Pasteles – Dough made from a mixture of mashed bananas and meat. It’s cooked while wrapped in banana leaves.
Roasting the pork is not a simple task. It starts in the morning and could take the whole day to have it ready.
Therefore, to reduce boredom and idleness, a lot of songs played during the day to keep people lively.
Popular desserts include ‘Arroz con dulce’ (rice pudding) and ‘tembleque’ (a sauce made with coconut milk).
The desserts are served cold. It is the responsibility of the guests to bring desserts to the people they visit.
The Climax of the Season
It happens on 28th December, which is known as ‘Dia de Los Inocentes’ (Holy day of innocents).
This day is celebrated to commemorate the killing of children under the age of two, which was ordered by King Herod I. During this day, some men dress and act as Herod’s soldiers.
They then pretend to take children away. People have to offer the men candy so that they can release the children.
The Christmas season comes to an end, and the Puerto Ricans now prepare to enter the New Year.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Main Points About Christmas in Puerto Rico
- Christmas festivity in Puerto Rico is a religious celebration filled with special moments with family, traditions and colorful merriments.
- Nativity scenes are popular in Puerto Rico as well as greenery decorations. Midnight mass (Misa del Gallo) Christmas plays and Christmas carols (Parrandas) are very common around Christmas time.
- On Christmas Eve (Nochebuena), the Christmas meal is eaten. The dishes include pig, rice, pigeon peas, green bananas, coconut milk, and cinnamon.
- The Christmas festivity begins early in November and runs through till the middle of January.
- From the 15th to the 24th of December, special catholic masses (Misa de Aguinaldos) are held.
Don’t be surprised if you are woken up by carol singing around 10 pm in the evening in Puerto Rico.
There’s a tradition of gathering and going from house to house carol singing with your friends, and once woken up/visited by singers, the so-called ”parranda”, you have to join!
People decorate their homes similar to how houses in the USA are decorated but also with palm tree branches and other greenery.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Puerto Rico
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Puerto Rico. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.