Carnival in Puerto Rico
- Upcoming Carnival Dates - To Be Announced.
Puerto Rico, a country that comprises people of many different cultures such as Spanish, African, American and indigenous root blend into the tradition of carnival. Carnival celebration continues until Ash Wednesday, which is forty days before Easter.
There are several different festivities that take place in Puerto Rico during the year and each festivity has its own unique mask. These masks are worn by the "carnival devils" throughout the festivities and are important expressions of Puerto Rican identity and culture. Carnivals are of ancient origin and have been organized to celebrate different events. The masks are made of papier- marche into scary and devilish shapes.
Puerto Rico is a country with a very strong Roman Catholic presence and thus the Carnival has a special meaning. Carnival refers to the last days before the beginning of Lent. Carnival starts on February 2 and continues until Ash Wednesday. Carnival here in Puerto Rico varies from region to region and is highly influenced by the traditions and its settlers.
Carnival in Ponce dates back to the mid 1700s and involves revelry, music, masks and costumes. The masks are made in scary devilish shapes with horns and brilliant colours. The main idea is to have the good devils get rid of the evil devils through their colourful native dance known as bomba y plena. Folk tunes 'estribillos' follow the rhythms of the colourful dance. The "vejigante' masks are made with two sets of horns, a large fiery mouth and two large hollow eyes. They are made in such a way to depict a dragon that is on the verge to attack. In reality, the dragon is friendly, a character inspired by the typical vejigantes roaming the crowds during the Lenten Carnivals in Ponce. The 'vejigante' masks are a classical example of the fusion of African, Spanish and Caribbean cultures. These carnivals themes can be magical, satirical, political or just purely entertaining. The important thing is that everyone is there to enjoy and have a fun time.