Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Felices Pascuas"
Location: Caribbean
Tree Type: Traditional
Decorations:

  • The tree is decorated to symbolize the musical groups (Parranda) that go from door to door during the six weeks of Christmas celebrations.
  • The poinsettia represents the flower that grows all over the island and blooms from Christmas to Easter.
  • The three crowns represent the Magi.

Traditions: The holiday season begins with Christmas music festivals (Parrandas). Groups of musicians and dancers go from house to house for a period of six weeks. Their music is unique and the songs they sing are known as gifts (Aguilnaldos) for the way gifts were given in the past in the form of oral tributes presented to family and friends.

Starting on Christmas Eve and continuing through the feast of the three kings January 6th, the Puerto Rican families celebrate the Christmas season. Homes are decorated and lighted. On Christmas Eve a special feast is served. The families dress in their finest clothes and sit down to the feast.

On the 28th of December, Puerto Ricans celebrate Day of the Innocents (Dia de Los Inocentes) a day of fooling people. It is similar to April Fools Day. Originally this day was celebrated to commemorate the children killed by Herod. It was a carnival day where men dressed as Herods's soldiers kidnapped the first born male and held them for ransom. The kidnapped children were returned at the end of the day and a huge carnival was held. In the town of Hatillo they still celebrate this day the old way with carnival. It is believed that this celebration began in the Canary Islands.