Christmas in Puerto Rico
Christmas spirit for all
Puerto Ricans Christmas celebrations begin very early December in December and don't stop after December 25th like the US. The bug celebration days include Decemeber 24- Nochebuena; Decemeber 25- Navidad; Decemeber 31-Despedida de Año; and the the biggest and most important of all for the children is el Asia de Reyes on January 6th.
Puerto Ricans are known for their unforgettable "parrandad or trullas navideñas". A Parranda is when a small group of friends gather together to surprise another friend. it's the Puerto Rican version of caroling. Most parranderos play some sort of guitar or instrument. All the songs are more about Christmas spirit rather than religion. The group grows as they go to several houses and it becomes a big party. At the last house they are invited in for chicken soup. The party ends at dawn.
One of the biggest traditions held us cooking a pig on a spit. Puerto Ricans will feel their Christmas is incomplete if they don't get to enjoy lechón asao. The cooking of the pig is a big event; the pig is cooked for several days. On the big day the pig is mounted on a stick and put to cook as early as 4 in the morning. Friends and family begin to arrive for this becomes a party. Other traditional foods include pasteles, lechón asado, arroz con dulce, tembleque, and coquito.
Santa or Los Reyes?
Before Puerto Rican traditions became influenced by American culture Christmas Day was a joyful day and some gifts were received at houses, but it was not from San Nicolás. Santa couldn't make it to the tropics in his hot wool suit with cap and raindeer. They thought their gifts used to be from Los Reyes. The Reyes celebration began on the eve of Three Kings Day. On the evening of January 5th Puerto Rican children go outside with scissors and shoe boxes to cut grass for the camels to eat. The grass goes into the boxes and the boxes are placed under the bed of parents, grandparents, ect. Some time during the night Los Reyes would come, while the camels are the grass, and fill the boxes overflowing with gifts.