Are you looking for a party? Look no further than Puerto Rico. Since this little island is technically a territory of the United States, it must be U.S. party central. Puerto Rico Festivals are not mere events; they are a way of life. Given their cultural heritage, based on Spanish Catholicism, each town on the island has a patron saint. 78 different towns will celebrate the feast day of a combined 34 patron saints and simple mathematics will tell you that numerous towns will share the same patron saint. Festivities typically last ten days with activities on weekday evenings and all day events on the weekends.
Usually centered around the town square, these colorful festivals (or fiestas) include religious processions, rides, games, live music and other forms of entertainment. As with all festivals, food plays a central role.
In addition to the ubiquitous town festivals, Puerto Rico plays host to a number of other events. Some of the biggest are listed below. See which ones are of interest to you and mark your calendar.
• The San Sebastian festival: Held in January this event is one of the biggest parties in San Juan. Drawing large crowds to its various food and entertainment venues, the San Sebastian festival is one of the largest of Puerto Rico Festivals to ever take place each year.
• Saborea: Held in April of each year this is the biggest food festival in Puerto Rico. Attracting celebrity chefs and culinary aficionados from around the world, this festival is a gastronomic event of the first order.
• Ponce Carnival: One of the oldest Puerto Rico Festivals, the Ponce Carnival could be considered Puerto Rico’s Mardi Gras. This wild carnival which occurs the week before Ash Wednesday draws visitors from around the world.
• The Heineken Jazz Festival: Held annually in the late spring or early summer, this four day Jazz event is one of the biggest in the Caribbean.
• Puerto Rico Salsa Congress: This is a week-long event aimed at Salsa lovers everywhere. If you don’t know how to Salsa, instructors are on hand to help those interested in learning. The event culminates in the World Salsa Open dance competition and the best Salsa dancers in the world battle it out here for top honors.
• San Juan International Billfish Tournament: A week long catch and release tournament attracting Marlin Fishermen from around the world.
• The Puerto Rico Marathon: This three-day event culminating in the 26.2 mile Puerto Rico Marathon Race is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon and attracts runners from across the globe.
As you can see if you are looking for Puerto Rico Festivals you don’t have to look far. The many town fiestas which are such a source of local pride invite the visitor to participate in the best of Puerto Rico’s culture—with music, food, dance and sports events which can excite spectators while providing participants a venue to showcase their skill, endurance and talents.
Puerto Rico owes much to its rich cultural history. Not least of which means they really know how to throw a party.