Christmas in Puerto Rico

Christmas in Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans are one of the longest Christmas celebrators.

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The Christmas celebration in Puerto Rico is a mixture of Anglo-Saxon, Spanish and African traditions.

The expected arrival of the Nordic Santa Claus (pronounced in good Puerto Rican “Santaclóh”) has somewhat overshadowed the most characteristic Puerto Rican Christmas celebration, but many children are still waiting patiently on January 5 to receive their gifts from the hands of the Wise Men. It means that the Day of Three Kings is a tradition of more identity for Puerto Ricans and even it comes from the Spanish Christmas, it has unique characteristics.

The first of these peculiarities is the Three Kings go on horseback, instead of on camels like in the rest of the world. It is precisely for these horses that children put small boxes full of grass under their beds.

The second peculiarity is in Borinquén “Their Majesties” are considered as saints by the people. Because they belong to the lives of the saints are born the “Promises of Kings”, religious and festive rituals in which the devotees ask for favours to the Wise Men which, once paid, are fulfilled thanks to a promise. During this liturgy, which has much to do with Santeria’s offerings of African origin, candles are lit, people pray and sing for the Kings in front of an altar.

The third peculiarity is the name of two of the Kings is different with regard to Europe. In Puerto Rico like in Cuba, Melchior is brown, not Gaspar, and King Baltasar is represented as the old man with white hair and beard.

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