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Spending Christmas in Puerto Rico

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One of the favorite times of the year to many people is Christmas time for many different reasons, but spending Christmas in Puerto Rico is particularly special in its own way. Of course, this is a time to be with family members and if your family members are not in Puerto Rico then there is a key aspect of Christmas that will be missing if you are here and your family is there. But just about everything else is quite amazing, in fact, there has been numerous international publications based on reader reviews, public opinions and other studies which rand Puerto Rico as one of the top-5 places in the world to spend Christmas! As of this writing, USA Today’s 10best.com has Puerto Rico as the second best place in the world to spend the Christmas holidays behind Prague, Czech Republic. That’s not bad!

So what’s so special about Christmas in Puerto Rico? Why am I happy to be spending Christmas in Puerto Rico?

Well, there are many reasons, I will mention a few of them here.

Ok, so first of all, it is warm, there is NO SNOW!

I know I know! The snow is part of the Christmas charm, and to a certain aspect I do miss snow during Christmas myself. However 2 years ago I went to visit friends and family during the holidays in the northern U.S. States and I quickly remembered one of the main reasons why I like Puerto Rico so much! Granted, Minnesota and North Dakota are VERY cold and in no way representative of all of the U.S. States in terms of temperatures, but when the warmest day had a temperature of 15ºF (-9.4ºC) and the coldest being -29ºF (-34ºC) before calculating the wind-chill temperature, it gets to be a bit much. I appreciate the warm Christmas now, I can go outside and enjoy the spectacular weather and go places with friends and family here in Puerto Rico, I didn’t particularly enjoy spending 2 weeks stuck inside because the weather was so incredibly cold, the roads were slippery, I had forgotten how to drive in snow. Here in Puerto Rico, especially in the lower elevations, you can expect temperatures in the low to mid 80s during the day and low 70s to upper 60s during the night, depending on the location.

Christmas in Puerto Rico

Image source: Pinterest.com

The FOOD!

Oh the food in Puerto Rico during the holidays is SO GOOD! Some of the more traditional food items for dinner or lunch are Pernil (pork shoulder), Arroz con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas), Morcilla (blood sausage), and Yucca or Masa (made from plaintains) Pasteles. As far as desserts, you can expect Tembleque (coconut dessert), arroz con dulce (sweet rice), and flan. And of course, when it comes to drinks, you cannot have a proper Christmas party without Coquito! Coquito is similar to Eggnog but with a few differences in the ingredients, particularly the coconut.

I promise you, this food is AMAZING! Of course, in my particular and personal situation I will not be able to enjoy most of these foods for the rest of my life due to Celiac disease and milk allergy (I also prefer not to eat meat but that part is a choice). However, YOU can and should try these delicious foods!!!

Christmas food in Puerto Rico

Image Source: Pinterest.com

The traditional Puerto Rican Christmas Music and Parrandas.

So of course we listen to the traditional Christmas music played in the US, in most cases we translate it into Spanish, but we still listen to those songs. However, we have our very own set of Christmas songs which are very lively and happy songs! We don’t have the Carolers most people in the U.S. know and love, instead we have “Parrandas”, which are known for being upbeat and causing people to start dancing. When I was a kid, my family would get together with friends and go out all night and do Parrandas all night. This was done by getting a few friends together with a few instruments such as the wooden sticks, güiro, bongos, tambourines, maracas and a guitar, then going to another friend’s house and start playing music and singing to them in front of their house until they either woke up (if it was late) or simply opened the door and let us in. Once they let us in their homes they would serve us food and drinks, play other songs and then join us to another friend’s house and do the same thing! We would hit about 5 houses in one night, which would take the entire night. It’s not done as much anymore since most residential areas are gated so we would have to call before going to their houses, instead, now people would get together in one house and play and sing the traditional Puerto Rican Christmas songs while everyone is together, spending the night in one place.

Image showing a Parranda (top) vs Carolers (bottom) Image source: endi.com

Image showing a Parranda (top) vs Carolers (bottom)
Image source: endi.com

 

We get 2 days of presents!

Not only do we celebrate the typical Christmas on the 25th of December, but we also have the Three Kinds Day on January 6th! So our Christmas holiday is longer than in the U.S. and we also get 2 days of presents! =) I remember getting a bicycle from the Three Kings one year, I immediately took it outside and started riding my new bicycle in the neighborhood! Again, outside, warm weather, January 6th! This means that our Christmas season lasts until then.

Normally kids would leave some milk and cookies for Santa (I never did, but I do now since my wife is from the U.S.), but just about every kid here would take a shoe box and fill it with grass from their front lawn or backyard, and have 3 glasses with water and maybe a tupperware with water. The 3 glasses with water are for the 3 kings, the grass and tupperware with water are for the camels the 3 kings travel with.

Three Kings

Image source: Pinterest.com

 

So there it is! Spending Christmas in Puerto Rico can and is a special treat. I encourage each and every one of you to get a taste of the local culture and customs. If you are already living here and will be spending Christmas in Puerto Rico, go out with local friends and experience a little of the local culture! I’ll leave you with a couple of videos I found on YouTube, one is of people in the stairs of the Coliseo de Puerto Rico as they wait for the rain to stop so they can get out, they decide to start singing Christmas music! The other video is of a group of Puerto Ricans playing music Parranda style at a parking lot in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Jay-Webmaster

Author: Jay-Webmaster

Jay is an Atmospheric Physicist and Massage Therapist who was born and raised in Puerto Rico but went to college in the US before moving back to Puerto Rico. Creator of NewToPuertoRico.com and the new forum NewToPuertoRico.com/forum

4 Comments

  1. Awesome ! This is good to know , thanx for this article and all the others aswell , they are all very insightful and give me an idea if what I can expect …
    Unfortenately I won’t be able too make it for being there this christmas or festive season , but the plan is to go in december 2016 …
    I’m South African , haven’t been to the island yet , but I feel so exited as if I have allready experienced everything myself . From the things I’m reading here aswell as on other websites and the things my beautifull fiance share with me offcourse it just seem like one loooong holiday everybody is living there . Yesterday she showed me some awesome video clips of a caravan in the streets in Mayageuz , I must confess when she mentioned the word caravan I was thinking it will look a bit weird for arabs on camels there . But when saw all those lights on the cars and trucks my heart was beating outside my chest . But basicly since the festive season started there has been the one or other activity taking place .I realy long too be there right now , but I geuss one year will give me enough time too learn some spannish or atleast enough so I can make a can communicate and understand the people .
    You mentioned once about a company called Target Marketing , that have many job oppertunities they advertised , and especialy for non spannish speaking people , but I would like too know if you maybe have a website link of them I can use and also if they help non US citizens aswell , for me it has been very difficult sofar too find a job abroad . And also to get a visa approval .

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello,

      So glad you liked what I posted! Yes Christmas here is very nice!

      As far as Target Marketing, feel free to contact them using their contact page at http://targethumanresources.com/About-Us

      Good luck!

      • Thanx Jay***
        I will get in contact with them ASAP.
        Its these type of friendly and kind deeds that is making it so much easier for me too leave everything I know behind and to start a new life , and it seems I’ll be starting a new life in paradise 🙂

        If I may , can I maybe request of you to considder writing an article regarding sports in PR please . To my knowledge puertoricans are mostly into the same sports as USA , like basket ball ,baseball and american football . Unfortenatly none of them are realy popular here in SA . I found info that there’s a rugby club ;San Juan Rugby Club , wich is awesome, I think that’s close enough to Bayamon where I’ll stay. But I’m into many other sports aswell.

        • Jay-Webmaster

          Thank you for the suggestion on the post!

          I hope you like it here when you move! I love it here but many do not!

          There are many sports clubs here, you just have to look and talk to others that may know. But we have lots of clubs.

          Take Care!

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