Cabezudos

Don Gabriel and Doña Edna

Some Background about the celebration of cabezudos. ​Medieval roots: The tradition of the cabezudos began in Spain around the 12th century specifically in festivities in northern Basque Country, and in the provinces (then kingdoms) of Aragon and Valencia, among others. According to Spanish historian Javier Aparicio, the tradition became widespread as the catholic kings conquered Spain again from Islamic rule in the late 15th century. The reason, according to Aparicio, was that Islamic law prohibited depictions of saints and even ordinary people so when the Catholics regained power these restrictions were eliminated and the use of cabezudos and giant puppets proliferated through most regions. more information: https://www.bienvenidospuertorico.net/here-come-the-cabezudos.

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The Hatillo Mask 

Some Background. The Day of the Masks, celebrated on December 28 every year without interruption, is one of the most emotional traditional activities of the Island. Its colorful and festive make the act, but the first, one of them, as a collaboration summit in the culture of Puerto Rico. This is a custom that has varied only in clothing, but it follows its essence since it was imposed on Hatillo following the foundation in 1823. It came as colonizing consequences since the tradition is Canarian based. That is, that the Spaniards from the Canary Islands, who took possession of the neighboring lands, bequeathed to later generations their triated cultural belongings of their lands, the same ones that we have today and that we are proud to preserve proudly. Masks are the heroic representation when the evil soldiers persecuted the children on the orders of the disgraceful King Herod and his obsession to end all the infants in order to get rid of a new creature ruling on his land and on the entire planet. That is why instead of 28, April Fools' Day, Hatillo's children do it on 27. That way the persecution is simulated by leaving the children one day before and the masks later. Formerly the clothes were rudimentary, grotesque masks made of cardboard, mud or fig trees, made a body dressed in rags, feminine or smudged. Step by step, the modality of the cotton fabric has changed, then the one of shine and nowadays the very exotic and expensive clothes is the one that dominates the occasion. Although this day has been celebrated in the town, the reality is that in the Lettuce Sector, where the Capaéz, Naranjito and Corcovados neighborhoods converge, the masks have always distinguished themselves with time other peoples have joined the celebration , for example Arecibo. On foot, on horseback and now in all types of transportation, they have always done theirs.

The Spaniard

It'sa folkloric character in Puerto Rican festival celebrations. Traditional colors of the Vejigantes were green, yellow, and red or red and black. Today, Vejigantes wear brightly colored, ornate masks corresponding to the colors of their costumes that detail bat-like wings.

Hay tres imágenes de Santiago, uno para los hombres, las mujeres y los niños. Cada imagen de Santiago tiene un día para que se pueda honrar. Se puede ver diferentes símbolos de la fiesta en los desfiles. Hay cuatro tipos de personas en los desfiles que son los Caballeros, los Vejigantes, las Locas y los Viejos. Cada tipo de persona representa una cosa diferente. Los caballeros representan a los soldados Europeos de la época medieval. Ellos usan colores como amarillo, rojo y verde. Los Vejigantes representan el diablo y lo malo. Sus máscaras tienen cachos y tienen muchos colores diferentes. Las Locas son hombres vestidos como mujeres que se comportan de una manera muy loca. Los Viejos representan a los hombres pobres y usan máscaras de papel y tienen costumbres de harapos.

En primer lugar encontramos el caballero. Estos tratan de imitar la tradicional vestimenta de los antiguos caballeros españoles. La misma con que aparece el Santo en las imágenes. A estas máscaras se las asocia con el Santo. Representan el bien en lucha contra el mal; el cristianismo contra el paganismo. El disfraz de los caballeros se compone de una chaqueta y un pantalón hechos con telas de brillo. En cada pieza se usan dos o tres colores, entre los cuales el rojo, el amarillo y el verde son los más frecuentes. El pantalón puede ser largo, abombachado o a media pierna. Sobre la chaqueta se usa una capa corta, que generalmente está adornada con lentejuelas o cintas de diversos colores. Estas máscaras esconden el rostro detrás de una careta hecha de alambre sobre la cual se pintan las facciones que se suponen son características del caballero español. En la boca se hace un pequeño orificio para que la máscara pueda fumar sin necesidad de desprenderse de su careta, En la cabeza, los caballeros llevan un sombrero de paja del país, al cual se le da la forma tradicional y luego se forra con trozos de la misma usada para el traje. Generalmente los sombreros van adornados con pequeños espejos, cascabeles, cintas de diversos colores y, en algunos casos, con flores de papel. El costo relativamente elevado del disfraz y la costumbre de que el caballero concurra a la fiesta a caballo hace que los que adopten este tipo de vestimenta sean sólo aquellos LAS FIESTAS DE SANTIAGO APOSTOL 41 que cuentan con mayores recursos económicos. Durante la fiesta la actitud y conducta de los caballeros es más seria y mesurada que la de las otras máscaras. Se supone que éstos no piden dinero a los transeúntes; sin embargo, en los últimos años, algunos caballeros que no van a caballo acostumbran llevar escondidos en bolsas de papel juguetes mecánicos que hacen funcionar delante del público para luego solicitar dinero. Parece ser que antiguamente los caballeros acompañaban al Santo y ejecutaban algunas pantomimas que representabanlas luchas que éstos, junto al Apóstol Santiago, libraron contra los moros." Hoy día los caballeros no saben lo que su disfraz representa y se ha perdido todo recuerdo del antiguo ritual.

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Our Vejigantes

It'sa folkloric character in Puerto Rican festival celebrations. Traditional colors of the Vejigantes were green, yellow, and red or red and black. Today, Vejigantes wear brightly colored, ornate masks corresponding to the colors of their costumes that detail bat-like wings.

The origins trace back to medieval Spain. The legend goes that the vejigante represented the infidel Moors who were defeated in a battle led by Saint James.  ​The Vejigante is the person in costume who carries a vejiga (cow bladder) gigante (giant). The cow bladder is inflated and dried in the sun, then filled with seeds or beans and the vejiga is used by the Vejiganteas a “weapon” during the parades and celebrations, as they playfully bop people with the rattle.​

Rey Momo

​The Ponce Carnival is Puerto Rico's Caribbean shout-out to Mardi Gras and its more famous cousin in Rio de Janeiro. A festival that has been held for over 200 years, it's the epitome of all things boricua, and an annual testament to Puerto Ricans' capacity for whimsy and revelry. The carnival dominates the historic downtown area in the city of Ponce. The celebration takes place in February, in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent." According with wikipedia.com: "King Momo or King Momos or King Momus, (Rei Momo in Portuguese or Rey Momo in Spanish) is considered the king of Carnivals in numerous Latin American festivities, mainly in Brazil and Colombia. His appearance signifies the beginning of the Carnival festivities."

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The Three Wise Men

If you are Puerto Rican then you have to celebrate Los Reyes After Christmas put a Reyes statue as a centerpiece on your dinning room table so the kids know - it's no over yet "faltan los Reyes."

Los Reyes arrive before dawn on January 6th. For centuries Puerto Rican children have celebrated Los Reyes in the same manner as their grandparents did when they were children. January 6 is called Epiphany and is traditionally the day in which the Magi arrived bearing gifts for the Christ child. Even to this day in Hispanic countries throughout the world, January 6 is the day that children receive their Christmas gifts, in commemoration of the Magi's visit.