San Sebastian Street

Puerto Ricans boast celebrate Christmas longer worldwide. And it is in addition to observing the festivities of Christmas Eve, new year and the traditional celebration of Reyes on January 6, the residents of the island of Puerto Rico continued their celebration until the third weekend of the month of January with the Fiestas of San Sebastian Street. This event, which celebrates its anniversary number 41 in 2011, will take place from Thursday 13 to Sunday, January 16 at the streets of old San Juan, historic center of the capital city. The San Sebastian street festivals combine the carnival atmosphere in the New Orleans style, with live music, processions, puppets and masks, with artistic, theatrical events and a fair of crafts with the participation of Puerto Ricans more than three hundred craftsmen and artists. Although the history of the tradition dates back to the year 1954, when the pastor of St. Joseph Church in old San Juan decided to perform activities on January 20, day of San Sebastian, to raise funds to rehabilitate it, the tradition fell into oblivion until the 1970s when neighbors of the Calle San Sebastian decided to restart the celebration of this date. The original celebration maintains the tradition of the procession of the image of the Holy from the Calle San Sebastian, today up to the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, accompanied by masks of Fatheads originally represented to the Catholic monarchs and musicians playing typical songs in the Puerto Rican rhythm known as plena. Currently more than 300,000 people participate in the different events of the Fiestas of San Sebastian Street during the four days of celebration.

Traffic and parking in old San Juan is extremely difficult these days, by which up to the residents of this neighborhood used public the transportation or taxi to reach the area services. Many of those attending the celebrations opt to find lodging in old San Juan during the celebration days. Cultural activities are they performed during the hours of the morning and the afternoon, and at night the streets are filled with groups of people singing and playing percussion to the rhythm of popular songs. Local police has stepped up surveillance to prevent incidents of violence in recent years, but is still not recommended the visit with children during evening activities due to the multitude of people who congregate in the area. For visitors who are planning a trip to Puerto Rico during these dates, there is no better way than the Fiestas of San Sebastian Street for artistic and cultural traditions of the island.