Sunday, January 2, 2011

San Sebastian Festival: Mardi Gras In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico celebrates The San Sebastian (Saint Sebastian) Festival every January.  It is a big festival that resembles Mardi Gras.  Every year, thousands of Puerto Ricans await for the arrival of the "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian."  This year The San Sebastian Festival will be held Thursday, January 13 through Sunday, January 16, 2011.  For four straight days Puerto Ricans from all over the island, flock to San Sebastian Street in Old San Juan, to celebrate Puerto Rico's culture.

Saint Sebastian was a martyr who died in the name of Christianity, during the height of the Roman Empire.  Originally, the festival began as a way to commemorate his life.

The traditional "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian" bring more than just music to the festival.  The festivities include: traditional parades with the "Cabezudos" ( which are people wearing giant heads made of peppier mache), folkloric dancing, traditional and contemporary music, food and art exhibitions.  Live bands perform on stage with a variety of Salsa, and bomba y plena groups.  People can also participate in the "Rumblon de Plena," where anyone can join with other participants and musical instruments, like "panderos" in singing and dancing.  All this great music, and joyous celebration can go until the early hours of the morning. 

The San Sebastian Festival has become the largest community cultural event on the island, and it also marks the end of the Christmas season in Puerto Rico.  Make plans to join the festivities of The San Sebastian Festival.  The "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian" is an experience not to be missed.

Have you been to the "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian"?  What was your experience?

Take a look at these videos from the San Sebastian Festival:                                       

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