Calle San Sebastian
Festival de las Mascaras
Three Wise Men
Multi-generational vacations are on the rise! According to a study by AAA in 2014, more than one-third of travelers planned to take a trip with extended family, as it’s a great way for everyone from grandparents to great-grandchildren to spend quality time together while also exploring new cultures and making lasting memories.
This holiday season, as families look for new ways to celebrate and include extended family, Puerto Rico is an ideal option with one of the longest and most unique Christmas seasons in the world, complete with historical traditions and vibrant, colorful festivals. Below are five top traditions the whole family can enjoy in Puerto Rico this holiday season.
1. Food around the holidays is delicious—especially in Puerto Rico! The whole family can enjoy the traditional holiday dessert of arroz con dulce, or cold rice cooked with spices, sugar, milk and coconut milk. The older crowd can try a coquito—a traditional holiday beverage of coconut milk, rum and spices. It’s sure to become a holiday favorite!
2. Despedida de Año, or New Year’s Eve, in Puerto Rico is just as exciting as in America! Parties are held throughout the island and when the clock chimes at midnight, it is tradition to eat grapes with every chime for good luck. You can revel in the hugs and pleasant company, or choose to celebrate in the street with locals honking their car horns and lighting up fireworks to ring in the New Year!
3. A much cherished tradition in the Puerto Rican Christmas season is El Día de los Reyes, or Three Kings Day celebrated on January 6. Children of every household leave a box of hay under the bed for the Three Wise Men’s horses in exchange for gifts on the eve of the holiday. The municipality of Juana Díaz, about a 1.5 hour drive from San Juan, is recognized worldwide for its traditional parade and celebration of this day, including three men who are chosen to transform themselves into the Three Kings.
4. Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián (Jan. 14-17) is a street festival celebrating Puerto Rico’s beloved Saint Sebastián with a parade, music, dancing and tons of local artisans selling their crafts. If you prefer shopping—this one’s for you! The event was first celebrated in 1970, and has grown to be one of Puerto Rico’s largest parties!
5. The whole family can join in parrandas, or Puerto Rican caroling. During a parranda, friends gather late in the evening to go from one house to the next surprising and waking up friends along the way. Friends then join the crowd to visit the next house!