SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico– Puerto Rico has been a popular destination for tourists 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. The following are three important events on the Puerto Rican calendar.
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, ending on 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 7 – Tuesday, February 13, 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.
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.