What Is The Culture Of Puerto Rico


Puerto Rican Culture—Rich with History and Tradition • • FamilySearch Blog

Puerto Rico is an island that is rich in both history and cultural heritage. Despite the fact that Puerto Rico is now a United States territory, the island’s ancient customs continue to survive. Puerto Rican culture is similar to its people in that it is passionate and vivacious, and it has a rich history of celebration.

History of Puerto Rico

Historically, Puerto Rico is quite proud of its heritage. The Taino, the island’s initial occupants, were an indigenous population that lived on the island for more than 1,000 years before the arrival of the Spanish. When Christopher Columbus returned from his second journey to the Americas in 1493, he landed in Puerto Rico and claimed the island for Spain. After naming the island after St. John the Baptist, he had it renamed to Puerto Rico, which means “rich port,” and San Juan was designated as the capital city shortly after.

Puerto Rico now embodies elements of all three of these historical periods.

Puerto Rican Music and Dances

Historically, Puerto Rico is quite proud of its achievements. There was a Taino tribe who existed on the island 1,000 years before the Spanish came, and they are considered the island’s original residents. When Christopher Columbus returned from his second journey to the Americas in 1493, he landed in Puerto Rico and claimed it for Spain. He christened the island San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist), but the name was soon changed to Puerto Rico, which means “rich port,” and San Juan was designated as the capital city.

Puerto Rico now embodies elements of all three historical periods.

Puerto Rican Dances

Dance traditions of Puerto Rico are derived from the Taino people, as are other parts of the country’s culture, as well as Spanish and West African influences. Puerto Ricans like telling stories via their dances, which are frequently adorned with gorgeous and bright costumes—women wear long, flowing skirts, and men wear enormous hats and sashes that match the sashes worn by the ladies in their skirts—and a variety of instruments. One of Puerto Rico’s most legendary dances, thebombais a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.

Those who worked in the sugar cane fields were treated like slaves by the government.

However, while the plena is commonly associated with Christmas, it is actually a dance and a music that may be heard throughout the year. The plena, like the bomba, is a musical representation of the sufferings of the coastal districts of Puerto Rico, and it is performed in two-fourth time.

Holidays in Puerto Rican Culture

Celebrating is something the Puerto Ricans like doing! In comparison, the mainland United States has ten government-recognized holidays, the United Kingdom has eight, and the European Union has seven, but the Philippines has over 19 official holidays on its calendar. The island features the world’s longest holiday season, which the locals take advantage of. The Christmas season, which begins immediately after Thanksgiving and lasts until the middle of January, is celebrated in Spain. At the end of the festival, there is a large celebration known as ” Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian,” commonly known as “la SanSe.” People spend their time singing “parrandas,” or Christmas songs; Puerto Ricans are particularly fond of traditional Christmas caroling, which involves gathering around people’s houses and singing as a surprise to them.

  1. A midnight service, during which the Nativity is frequently reenacted, is regularly held to end the Christmas Eve celebrations.
  2. It commemorates the visit of the Three Wise Men (the Magi), who paid a visit to Jesus shortly after His birth.
  3. It has been more than 135 years since the town of Juana has had a large celebration on that day.
  4. Throughout the year, festivals and festivities are celebrated in various regions and towns around the country.

Puerto Rican Baseball

Baseball is the most widely practiced sport in Puerto Rico, yet it is also the most expensive. Americanism and Cubanism were the first to bring the sport to the nation, with the first leagues being formed in 1897. Initially, it wasn’t widely accepted, but it gained popularity shortly after the Spanish–American War in 1900, when the Almendares Baseball Club defeated the American Baseball Club of the Second Regiment of Infantry by a score of 32 to 18. Following that, baseball’s popularity in Puerto Rico grew rapidly, spreading from town to town in a short period of time.

Baseball is a year-round sport in Puerto Rico due to the island’s tropical environment.

Religion in Puerto Rico

The importance of religion to the Puerto Rican people has never wavered. The Taino people were intensely spiritual, and they worshipped a variety of gods, many of whom they thought resided in the natural world. A little more than a decade after Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, Ponce de Leon carried with him the Roman Catholic faith. In Puerto Rico today, Catholicism is the most widely practiced religion. Puerto Ricans are deeply religious people who hold Christianity in high regard.

Approximately 75 to 85 percent of the population is either Catholic or has strong links to the Catholic faith, according to estimates. Each city has a patron saint, who is commemorated with festivals and religious processions throughout the year.

Your Puerto Rican Heritage

The Puerto Rican people have a vibrant culture that is full of things to celebrate and appreciate. Do you have any links to the island of Puerto Rico? The free record collections available at FamilySearch might assist you in tracing your Puerto Rican ancestors. Log in or register for a free account to get started right away!

Learn More About Puerto Rico

Send an electronic greeting card Puerto Rico possesses one of the most diverse and extensive artistic, cultural, and historical legacies of any country in the world.


Electronic greeting cards (e-cards) Throughout history, Puerto Rico has accumulated one of the most significant artistic, cultural, and historical legacies.


Send an e-card Puerto Rico possesses one of the most extensive and diverse artistic, cultural, and historical legacies of any country in the world.


Puerto Rican food is a delectable fusion of Spanish, African, Taino, and American elements that is distinctively delicious. We refer to it as “cocina criolla,” a delectable blending of flavors and ingredients that has been passed down from one generation to the next.

Moving to Puerto Rico

There are several benefits to relocating to Puerto Rico, including a pleasant year-round environment, a diversified culture and a rich history, and friendly people, to mention a few. While relocating to Puerto Rico requires some coordination, just like any other relocation, you may discover valuable information to assist you in preparing for your move.

Culture of Puerto Rico – Wikipedia

Painting by Puerto Rican artist Francisco Oller, entitled ‘La escuela del Maestro Cordero.’ Porto Rico’s culture is the product of a variety of international and indigenous influences, both historical and contemporary. Modern cultural expressions highlight the island’s illustrious history and contribute to the development of a distinct Puerto Rican identity that is influenced by Taino (Native Indian), Spanish, African, and North American influences.


Although a subset of the Arawakan aboriginals, a tribe of Native Americans from northern South America, inhabited the Greater Antilles, the majority of the population on the island of Puerto Rico was composed of Tainos. There were approximately twenty Taino villages, known asyucayeque, on the island at the time of Juan Ponce de León’s conquest. It is believed that Taino settlements ranged in size from single families to groups of 3,000 people. When the Spaniards arrived, they expected the Taino Indians to recognize the sovereignty of the king of Spain through the payment of gold tribute, to work and supply provisions of food, and to observe Christian ways.

  1. They were aided and abetted in this insurrection by their long-time adversaries, the Caribs.
  2. A consequence of this was a wholesale annihilation of Taino culture and customs, which was reported to have “disappeared” 50 years after Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas.
  3. The Tanos, far more than the Caribs, made significant contributions to the development of ordinary life and language under the Spanish occupation.
  4. Many Taino items and methods were immediately adopted by Europeans, including thebohio (straw house) and the hamaca (hammock), the musical instrument known as the maracas, and the way of baking cassava bread, among other things.
  5. Plants, trees, and fruits with the names manu, leren, aj, yuca, mamey, pajuil, pitajaya, cupey, tabonuco, and ceiba are among those mentioned.
  6. Among the goods and instruments are the following: güiro, boho, batey, caney, hamaca, nasa, petate, coy, barbecue, batea, cabuya, casabeandcanoa, among others.

Aside from that, numerous Taino superstitions and stories were absorbed and modified by the Spanish, and they continue to have an impact on Puerto Rican culture today.


In the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, four men are playing dominoes. The most significant European impact on the island comes from Spain, which was the island’s colonizer. The most noticeable of all cultural impacts on Puerto Rican culture is the effect of the Spanish language. The island’s Spanish legacy has left an unmistakable impression, and indications of this cultural interchange can be found everywhere, from the island’s Colonial architecture and official language to the island’s literature and local culinary tastes, to name a few examples.

  • Old San Juan and La Fortaleza, as well as portions of them, are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Several musical genres on the island have their roots in Spanish culture, which is responsible for such styles as decima, sei, danza, and mambo, among other things.
  • The author Manuel Alonso noted in his book El Gbaro in 1845 that while an abarrio may be devoid of a church, no barrio in Puerto Rico could be said to be devoid of a cockfighting site.
  • A total of 71 official sites are used for events, with hundreds of thousands of people attending each year.
  • In addition, there are Italian and Sicilian influences.


In San Juan, Puerto Rico, four men are playing dominoes. Spain, the island’s colonizer, has had the most impact on the island’s culture and traditions. Among all cultural influences on Puerto Rican culture, Spanish influence is the most noticeable. The island’s Spanish legacy has left an unmistakable impression, and indications of this cultural interchange can be found everywhere, from the island’s Colonial architecture and official language to the island’s literature and local culinary tastes, to name a few things.

Historic sections of both Old San Juan and La Fortaleza have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993.

Several musical genres on the island have their roots in Spanish culture, which is responsible for such styles as decima, sei, danza, and mambo, as well as other types of music.

The author Manuel Alonso noted in his book El Gbaro in 1845 that while an abarrio may be devoid of a church, no barrio in Puerto Rico could be said to be devoid of a cockfighting ring.

A total of 71 designated venues host events each year, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. An example of cockfighting is shown in Daddy Yankee’s video for Barrió Finoa. The influences of the Italian and Sicilian cuisines are also noticeable.

The Caribbean and Latin America

Several Caribbean countries have a common African background, which is evident in their cultural hobbies like dancing and in their regional cuisine specialties. The majority of regional influences come from Latino and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica are the three surrounding islands that have had the most effect on Puerto Rico’s dance and music traditions. Panama has developed a strong affinity for Spanish Reggae, which is the Spanish-language equivalent of Jamaican Reggae, and has shared this interest with Puerto Rico.

  • Puerto Rican musicians collaborated with Cuban musicians to produce Salsa music, and they also assisted Dominican musicians in the creation of Merengue.
  • A significant amount of cultural exchange has occurred between Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, particularly the islands of St.
  • Croix, Vieques, and Culebra.
  • Co-productions between Puerto Rico and other Latin American nations have facilitated an exchange of ideas in the filmmaking industry and have affected the norms of the respective countries’ film industries.

United States

Hacienda La Fortuna, sugar mill complex in Puerto Rico painted by Francisco Ollerin 1885, with the words “El desastre is la colonia” (The catastrophe is the colony) on a light meter six months after Hurricane Maria. US and Puerto Rico flags on a structure in Puerto Rico six months after Hurricane Maria. Because of the difficult socio-political connection between the two countries, Puerto Rican feeling toward the United States tends to oscillate between emulation and rejection on a cultural level.

  • Prior to the United States’ acquisition of Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898, the colony’s economy was largely on agricultural production.
  • Puerto Ricans were mostly agrarian until the beginning of the twentieth century.
  • Development was shifted to industrial factory labor and, later, education of the factory workforce as a result of the construction of government-owned firms.
  • Puerto Rican family structure has been influenced by the United States ideal of tiny, patriarchal households, which has also had an impact on modern US foreign policy.
  • By separating nuclear families into public, single-family houses, public housing exacerbated the disenfranchisement of the huge multi-generational family even more.
  • The connection between the United States and Puerto Rico makes it difficult to define one’s national identity.
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In spite of the fact that the island’s culture is not diverse, Puerto Rico establishes a number of binary oppositions to the United States, including American identity versus Puerto Rican identity, English language versus Spanish language, Protestant versus Catholic, and Anglo-Saxon heritage versus Hispanic heritage, among others.


Artist Hipolito Marte Martinez created this painting of Los Reyes Magos, explaining that “in Puerto Rico, Melchior is usually shown with black complexion.”

  • In addition to a World Heritage Site, the island is home to several sites ranging from pre-Columbian structures to modernist structures designed by Jose Firpi, Jonathan Marvel, and Segundo Cardona, among others. Art in Puerto Rico– Puerto Ricans have made significant contributions to the area of visual arts, including the establishment of important museums, the creation of individual artists, and the formation of collectives. Puerto Rican cinema encompasses both the island’s own film industry as well as the island’s participation in worldwide filmmaking. Puerto Rican cuisine, both traditional and fusion, is gaining growing recognition outside of the island for its deliciousness. Poets, writers, and playwrights from Puerto Rico, including Julia de Burgos, Giannina Braschi, and Lin-Manual Miranda, have all contributed to the island’s international recognition. Music of Puerto Rico – The music of the island is a fusion of many cultural influences from across the world. A vital component of cultural expression is the performing arts, such as dance. Puerto Rican poetry — Whether written in Spanish, Spanish-English, or English, Puerto Rican poetry has made significant contributions to Nuyorican, American, and slampoetry, as well as inspiring numerous musicians. Comic comics from Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rico’s sports scene

See also

  1. In addition to a World Heritage Site, the island is home to several landmarks ranging from pre-Columbian structures to modernist structures designed by Jose Firpi, Jonathan Marvel, and Segundo Cardona. Art in Puerto Rico– Puerto Ricans have made significant contributions to the area of visual arts, including the establishment of important museums, the creation of individual artists, and the formation of artistic collectives. Puerto Rican cinema encompasses both the island’s own film industry as well as the island’s participation in worldwide film
  2. And Because of its traditional and fusion cuisines, Puerto Rican cuisine is getting more recognition outside of the island. poets, novelists, and playwrights such as Julia de Burgos, Giannina Braschi, and Lin-Manual Miranda have all contributed to Puerto Rico’s international recognition via their work in writing. Music of Puerto Rico – The music of the island is a fusion of many cultural influences from all over the world. A vital component of cultural expression is the performance arts, such as dancing. Spanish, Spanish-Spanglish, and English poetry composed in Puerto Rican have made significant contributions to Nuyorican and American poetry as well as influencing numerous singer-songwriters. Comic comics on Puerto Rico
  3. Puerto Rico’s sporting activities

External links

  • The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (IPC) is a government institution devoted to the study, preservation, and development of Puerto Rican culture
  • It is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Fascinating History and Culture of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s unusual geographical position distinguishes it from other Caribbean islands. Due of its favorable trading environment, it has been a popular target for foreign invasion for hundreds of years. Join me as I delve into the interesting history of this priceless land, as well as the unique culture that they have on offer.

History of a Profitable Land

Puerto Rico’s peculiar geographical position distinguishes it from other places. Due to its favorable trading environment, it has been a popular target for foreign conquest for hundreds of years now. Take part in my exploration of the rich history of this priceless land, as well as the unique culture that it has to offer.

Early Settlers

The Arawak Indians were the first people to live on the region that is now known as Puerto Rico, and they did so more than 1,000 years before the arrival of the Spaniards. They were the owners of thetanoculture, and they resided in little towns where they grew tropical foods, naming their landBoriquén. Nonetheless, neighboring islands launched a series of attacks against Boriquén in an attempt to seize control of the territory. When Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493, he immediately went to work rescuing Taino captives who had been imprisoned on the Caribbean, an enemy island.

When he returned with them, he claimed the area for the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I.

Spanish Rule

Shortly after, Christopher Columbus relocated the town to Hispaniola, which is today divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, establishing the first permanent settlement in the New World and the first permanent settlement in the world. Caparra was the country’s first officially recognized town. Historically, this bay was used as an anchorage for sailing vessels. It was created in 1508 by Juan Ponce de León, with mining and agriculture serving as the primary economic pursuits. Their decision to relocate the settlement farther north, in 1521, resulted in the bay being renamed as Puerto Rico.

When the Indians were fed up with years of oppression, they staged a revolt against the Spanish authorities.

As a result, the Spanish chose to import Indian and African slaves to labor in the mines and on the sugarcane and ginger plantations that were eventually created in the region.

The economic hardships caused by the attacks, the illnesses that continued to afflict the inhabitants, and the prospect of other European pirates bringing them to justice all contributed to the Spanish colonists’ slow exodus from the islands.

The Spanish, still seeking to defend their territory, converted San Juan into a military outpost in order to stave off additional incursions.

Other European Invasions

The French, British, Danish, and Dutch continued to attack, prompting a defensive response from the Spanish as well as other nations. It turned into a never-ending war for control of the island. Spanish officials eventually agreed on changes to boost commerce between Puerto Rico and Spain in order to enhance the economy and put an end to the conflict. This resulted in the transformation of Puerto Rico into an important center of economic growth. The island of Puerto Rico, which has a lengthy history of economic development and exports to the United States, as well as alternating political regimes and persistent attempts at independence, was granted the right to a constitutional government in 1870.

  • As a result, Puerto Rico has been unable to assert its independence as a sovereign state.
  • More information may be found at: The Spanish-American War was fought between Spain and the United States.
  • Later in 1917, under the Jones Act, the United States government allowed Puerto Ricans the right to become citizens of the United States.
  • Throughout the years, the country has tried to discern its true position inside the United States, as well as to choose what sort of nation they want to be: whether to stay a commonwealth of the United States, a state within the United States, or an independent country.

Modern Day

The territory of Puerto Rico is now a part of the United States, with its own constitution and government. They also elect their own governors, and some even take part in the general elections in the United States. By 2016, the country’s population had grown to 3.4 million people. However, as a result of the prolonged economic downturn, Puerto Ricans continue to migrate to the United States, particularly to Florida, in search of better job opportunities. Statistics show that those who choose to remain in their home country have a lower median household income than those who choose to migrate.

Flag Day is observed on December 22nd in this country.

  • Puerto Rico is now a territory of the United States, with its own constitution and government, as of January 1, 2002. Moreover, they elect their own governor, and some of them even vote in the national elections of the United States of America. They had a population of 3.4 million people as of 2016. Although Puerto Ricans have been migrating to the United States for many years because of the economic downturn, they have been flocking to Florida in particular in search of better employment possibilities. People who choose to remain in their native country have a lower median household income, according to the most recent figures available. The Puerto Rican flag is a reflection of the country’s long and illustrious history of conflicts and continual fights for freedom from Spanish rule. On the 22nd of December, they observe Flag Day.


Puerto Ricans, like their Latin American counterparts, are mostly Christian. Around 56 percent of the population considers themselves Catholic, whereas just 33 percent of the population considers themselves Protestant.


Astonishing to see how many festivals the Puerto Ricans put on around the country!

Here are some of the most unforgettable occasions in recent memory.

Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

This celebration, which takes place on the third weekend of January, takes over town squares around the country. Live music is one of the many types of performances that people put on.

Festival de la Piña Paradisíaca

From the 7th to the 9th of June, they may take part in this fantastic event in La Parguera. People may watch runners complete a 5K race along the beach and its coves, which is accompanied by local merchants and live music.

Noche de San Juan

Dominicans commemorate the birth of Saint John the Baptist on June 23, while Puerto Ricans do the same (San Juan Bautista.) People are expected to leap into the water seven times backwards at midnight, according to custom, in order to bring good luck.

Festival de Santiago Apóstol

Vejigantesstar is performing at this festival. They are masks that people wear to portray African slaves during a large procession that moves around the town. Their performances as vejigantesagainst Spanish knights serve to commemorate the conflicts that molded their history and to inspire others to do the same.

Festival de la Novilla

The third weekend of January is also a time when Puerto Ricans put on live music performances, including folk and salsa, while others enjoy street cuisine and amusement park attractions.

Traditional Foods

Puerto Rico offers hundreds of traditional cuisines that highlight its history as well as their distinct taste, thanks to a diverse range of ingredients, primarily tropical foods.

1.Chuletas a la Primavera

Fried pork chops served with rice and whatever sort of beans you want to try.

2. Mojo Isleño

Tomato sauce, which is typically served with fried fish.

3.Arepas de maíz

The dessert has a biscuit-like texture, and it is created with maize and milk, and it is served with cheese of papa.


This maize and milk dessert has a biscuit-like texture and is accompanied by a dollop of cotija cheese.

5.Budín de calabaza

Pumpkin puree with a hint of orange, ginger, and cinnamon flavoring.


It’s no secret that the Boricuas are huge lovers of flan; they prepare it in a variety of flavors such as pumpkin, coconut, milk, pineapple cheese, and vanilla.

7. Boriqua Island Punch

a wonderful beverage that blends coconut milk with coconut kernels and other seasonings to create a tropical flavor explosion, made with rum and other ingredients


Drink made of evaporated milk, coconut cream, condensed milk, spiced rum, egg yolks, vanilla, and cinnamon that is served chilled.


The music that Puerto Ricans appreciate is influenced by the large number of people who have claimed this area. Consider all of the musical types that will bring back memories of this island.

Classical Music

It is possible that Puerto Rico has produced brilliant classical composers like Manuel Tavares due to a blend of former residents of the region. A few native composers have, unavoidably, dared to include elements of Puerto Rican culture into their classical compositions. Juan Morel Campos was able to accomplish this look with success.

Folk Music

As they adopted this music for their culture, Puerto Rico quickly captured their Spanish heritage.

Jbaros (folk musicians) perform on this one-of-a-kind island, using stringed and percussion instruments. Folk music is popular at weddings, and if a Puerto Rican finds himself or herself away from home, hearing somejbarosplay folk music helps them feel at home.

Bomba y Plena

Despite how different these genres are, they are both fantastic for dancing. Bomba, the rhythmic percussion-based music with a strong African influence, is a must-have for people searching for an exciting dance-off. Bomba is a product of African origin. Plenare serves to remind Puerto Ricans of the Arawak Indians, who were the first settlers of their territory. Moreover, it fits well with Spanish instruments such as guitars.


Salsa, which incorporates considerably more complex instruments and rhythms than some of the genres described above, draws together a diverse range of Caribbean influences to create danceable music that embodies the essence of Latin culture.

Tourist Sites

Because it is an island with wonderful weather and a plethora of beautiful beaches, it has a plethora of things to participate in. Kayaking and jet skiing are among of the fantastic adventures you may have on this lovely island, as is snorkeling, exploring Old San Juan to locate the best restaurants, and going on a boat trip. Check out this list of breathtaking locations that you must see on your next trip!

El Morro

Originally, this historical structure served as a military fortification. It was built in 1539 to safeguard the Spanish inhabitants from foreign invasions, and it has been in use ever since.


The breathtaking Isla de Vieques is the ideal destination for people seeking a relaxing vacation and a few relaxing days in the sun beneath the sun. You may participate in enjoyable activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and sunbathing! There are several resorts on the island where you may stay and enjoy a unique perspective of the landscape.

Old San Juan

If the fascinating history of this island has piqued your interest, Old San Juan is the ideal destination for you to visit. As you stroll through the cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported back to the country’s colonial history. It is also a fantastic spot to stay while visiting Puerto Rico because of the numerous hotels and restaurants available. You may locate excellent hotels in the area surrounding Calle Fortaleza, which serves as the epicenter of Puerto Rican history and culture.

El Yunque

You will find yourself in a beautiful jungle that is home to unusual animal species that are found nowhere else on the planet! It is essential that you schedule a guided tour of this very unique area of the island!

Camuy River Cave Park

Are you a lover of the beauty that rivers can provide? This cave park is entirely dedicated to you! The stalagmites and stalactites that make this cave park a must-see will take your breath away as you explore this underground wonder while canoeing down the river. Not only that, but it is the third biggest cave network in the world, according to some estimates.

Vacation Is Better on an Island

When it comes to this beautiful island, while both English and Spanish are official languages, it is Spanish that you will need to know the most when visiting!

By studying Spanish, you can ensure that you are prepared for this fantastic journey! Joining our group can help you become a confident public speaker in no time. Sign up for a free one-on-one Spanish lesson with a native Spanish speaker and see what it’s like to communicate in such a rich language!

Want to learn more about Latin American culture? Check out our latest posts!

As a native Spanish speaker and college student who was born in Guatemala, I have a strong desire to write in English and to share useful language material with other Spanish learners throughout the world. If my readers are able to benefit from the teachings and knowledge I provide, I will consider my job well done! Alejandra Castellanos’s most recent posts are shown below (see all)

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Culture of Puerto Rico

The culture of Puerto Rico is generally seen as being vibrant and diverse, reflecting a fusion of numerous influences from across the world. Puerto Rico has its own distinct culture and customs, which are enthusiastically recognized and practiced by the people who live here in large numbers. Puerto Rico has its own calendar, which includes everything from cuisine to different types of music and dance, sports, yearly events, festivals, and everything else. This island has a long and illustrious history, as well as old cultural influences.

History of Puerto Rico

Source In general, the culture of Puerto Rico is a fusion of Taino, Spanish, and African traditions and influences. People from the Taino group were among the first to arrive in Puerto Rico and establish themselves. In order to achieve their goal of populating the nation even after the arrival of the Spanish, they tended to marry Taino Indian women. Following the arrival of African slaves and Chinese immigration, as well as French, German, and even Lebanese people, the country became a melting pot of many cultures.

Culture of Puerto Rico: Music and Dance

Source Puerto Rican music, which is influenced by the Caribbean, incorporates the usage of a variety of old musical instruments, which distinguishes it from the rest of the world. The bulk of Puerto Rican music is composed of instruments such as the mayohuacan (wooden slit drum), guiro (made of hollowed gourd), cuatro (guitar with ten strings), and Tambours (made of hollowed tree trunks and animal leather). Salsa has emerged as the most popular form of music in Puerto Rico as a consequence of the use of percussion instruments in conjunction with stringed instruments while making songs.

As part of their dancing performances, Puerto Ricans don beautiful costumes such as long, flowing skirts for ladies and huge hats and sashes for men, which are meant to compliment their dance partners.

Traditionally, it was said to have started in old sugar cane fields as a means for slaves to express their dissatisfaction with their conditions.

Culture of Puerto Rico: Holidays

Source The culture of Puerto Rico is a whirlwind of celebrations. Puerto Rico has 19 official holidays on its calendar, making it the country with the longest holiday season in the whole world. When the Christmas season (also known as La Navidad) comes around, people congregate around homes to sing Christmas carols, which is a pleasant surprise for them. It will last till the middle of January. Three Kings Day, which is observed on January 6 every year in addition to the lengthy Christmas celebrations, is another tradition in the country.

Approximately 25,000 people are expected to take part in the festivities on this specific day. Many of the holidays in Puerto Rican culture are commemorated by parades, which feature brightly colored puppets, floats, cuisine, dancing, and musical performances.

Sports Culture in Puerto Rico

Source Baseball is often regarded as the most popular sport in Puerto Rico, and with good reason. In 1897, for the first time, it was included into Puerto Rican culture, according to legend, after being introduced by American and Cuban groups. As a result of the American Baseball Club’s defeat by a score of 32 to 18, baseball’s popularity spread like wildfire over the island of Puerto Rico. Following this, it was adopted as a sporting activity in Puerto Rico’s public schools. Baseball legends such as Roberto Clemente and Carlos Beltran have emphasized the significance of baseball in Puerto Rican culture and the existence of professional teams in the country.

Religion and Culture in Puerto Rico

Source Ponce de Leon is credited as being the first person to bring the Roman Catholic faith to the inhabitants of Puerto Rico. Therefore, Catholicism continues to be the faith that dominates Puerto Rican society to this day. People in this country hold Christianity in high regard and hold it near to their hearts. More than 75% of the whole Puerto Rican population is either Catholic or has significant ties to those who follow the faith.

Traditions in Puerto Rico

Source The most well-known manifestation of this culture takes place in Puerto Rico on Three Kings Day in January, which is celebrated all around the world. Aside from that, other customs observed on the island include clapping when an aircraft lands on the island and drinking the native coquito during holidays. It is a coconut-based beverage that is exceedingly sweet and has a consistency similar to that of eggnog in appearance.

Art in Puerto Rico

Source Puerto Rico’s streets are lined with murals and art museums, which are a sight to behold. Art, which is often regarded as the most effective medium for describing Puerto Rican history, is an extremely significant component of Puerto Rican culture. It is home to two significant and internationally renowned art museums, the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (located in Santurce) and the Puerto Rico Contemporary Museum, both of which are on the top of most visitors’ wish lists. If you are returning home with a piece of local artwork, whether it is a painting or a hand-carved item, it is likely that you will have the finest memories of your vacation to Puerto Rico.

The street art craze, which is a reflection of the island’s Caribbean culture, is extremely popular throughout the island.

Annual Festivals in Puerto Rico

Source Puerto Rico hosts a festival or some other type of celebration practically every weekend, and the island is no exception. Festivals in Puerto Rico are extremely colorful, and the inhabitants of the island go to great lengths to make them as loud and magnificent as possible. The celebration of each and every festival in Puerto Rico includes live music performances, amusement attractions, big parades along the streets, and delectable gourmet cuisine. According to Catholic teachings, festivities are held from the middle of the week to the conclusion of the weekend the majority of the time.

Enjoying a Puerto Rican festival is an excellent opportunity for visitors to learn about the local culture while on vacation in the Caribbean country. Listed below are some of the most well-known and solely Puerto Rican events, including:

1. Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

Source In addition to being regarded as the unofficial end of the holiday season, this event has earned a reputation as one of the most predictable parties in Puerto Rico. It will take place in San Juan from Wednesday evening until Sunday afternoon, starting on Wednesday. Stages are ready for live music, dance, and circus shows, and artists will be able to perform on them. Whenever: The third weekend in January. Where: The historic district of San Juan

2. Festival de la Novilla

Source San Sebastián is a small rural village in the western region of Puerto Rico that is not widely recognized. Visitors may enjoy anything from folk music to salsa during the festival, which is usually held on a Sunday. In one town, a cow is decorated with a flower crown, and a procession follows it around the rest of town. This specific event always concludes with a performance of traditional music performed by a local musician. Whenever: The third weekend in January. San Sebastian is the location.

3. Fiesta de los Reyes Magos

Source Following Catholic tradition, the Three Wise Men paid their first visit to infant Jesus on January 6, according to the day of their arrival on earth. Puerto Rico holds town festivals and large parades to commemorate the event, in which locals and performers dress up as the Three Wise Men and present gifts to the children in attendance. Two of the most well-known festivities are the Fiesta de Reyes Juanadina in Juana Daz and the Fiesta de Reyes Isabelinos in Isabela, both of which take place to commemorate the day in the most festive way possible.

4. Festival deSantiagoApóstol

Source Vejigante is a well-known local folk figure who wears a brightly colored mask and a multicolored costume. The masks are constructed of coconut and driftwood, and they are beautiful. When this celebration takes place, a highly exciting procession may be watched throughout the town, during which conflicts between the vejigantes and the Spanish knights are fought. These wars are a reflection of the tensions that exist between the powers of good and evil. The guests to this event will be able to experience a vast variety of Bomba music.

Loiza is the location.

5. Festival Nacional Indígena

Source Taking place in Puerto Rico, this event commemorates the relevance of Taino culture and traditions. Despite the fact that the Taino population was subjugated by the Spanish, their influence may still be seen in Puerto Rican culture today. Jayuya is one of those places that captivates visitors with the highest peak in Puerto Rico, as well as the greatest coffee plantations on the island and a hot air balloon ride over the mountains. When: Towards the end of November Jayuya is the location.

So, what are you waiting for?

Puerto Rican Culture: National Identity, Gender Roles, and Religion

Lindsay Daen’s painting La Rogativa shows a religious procession in 1797 that is said to have frightened off an invading British fleet that mistaken the congregation for military reinforcements. Photo by Paul Sableman, used with permission under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Currently, more Puerto Ricans live on the U.S. mainland than on the island of Puerto Rico, and the island’s population is continuing to drop as a result of the high unemployment rate, which is driving citizens – primarily highly educated professionals – to the mainland in search of work.

Nearly half the island’s people live below the poverty line, and at least ten municipalities (most of which are located on or near the Cordillera Central) have poverty rates more than 60%.

Furthermore, the economy is being held responsible for the decline in the birth rate, which has fallen from 60,000 in 2000 to 42,000 in 2012.

National Identity

Locals joke that Puerto Ricans are like porpoises because they can’t seem to keep their heads above water while still smiling all the time. It’s a good summary of the situation. According to a well publicized research conducted by the Stockholm-based organization World Values Survey in 2005, Puerto Ricans were named the happiest people on the planet. Despite high levels of poverty and unemployment, it appears like nothing can dampen the vibrant, fun-loving attitude of the people of Puerto Rico.

  • In fact, there are more than 500 festivals held on the island each year, and everything is a family affair that involves many generations of kin.
  • The history of Puerto Rican living has had a profound impact on the culture of the people who live there.
  • However, beginning in 1508, the island became a Spanish colony, and European influence dominated the island for the following four centuries.
  • Catholicism was propagated by the church, and Spanish was adopted as the official language.
  • Spanish colonists also imported slaves from Africa to labor the island’s numerous coffee and sugar plantations, and these slaves, like the Tano and Spanish colonists, produced offspring, leading to the development of what was known as a “mulatto” population for a number of years.
  • There are some segments of society who are proud to claim to be descended from pure European stock, and darker-skinned groups are occasionally targeted for discrimination.
  • Upon the United States’ occupation of the island territory in 1898, the island saw yet another massive cultural shift.

English has become a frequent second language, and it has even been declared the official language on a few occasions.

American firms established operations in the country, bringing with them an inflow of American expatriates whose methods of dressing, eating, and creating art were assimilated into the local culture.

According to some, such influence has contributed to the relative stability and orderliness of public life on the island, particularly when contrasted to other Caribbean countries.

In many aspects of island life, contemporary American culture has made inroads; yet, the majority of Puerto Ricans remain passionately proud of their Spanish history.

Puerto Ricans are naturalized citizens of the United States, and they enjoy many of the rights and perks that come with that status—though not all of them.

Approximately half of the island’s population supports the island’s continued position as a United States commonwealth, mostly because they feel such status will assure the preservation of their Spanish culture.

In 2012, the United States Congress adopted moves that might result in a public referendum on the island of Puerto Rico about the future of the territory’s political status.

Regardless of the outcome of Puerto Rico’s 2012 referendums on whether to keep commonwealth status or apply for non-territorial status, the island’s political standing is likely to remain in upheaval for the foreseeable future.

Gender Roles

Regarding gender roles, Puerto Ricans are quite conservative in their approach. Women have, however, made significant gains into the traditionally male-dominated worlds of business and athletics, particularly in metropolitan regions, as has happened across the rest of the industrialized world. When young women first started dating, it was customary practice among the island’s more traditional households for them to be escorted by chaperones in the shape of an aunt or elder sister, but that practice is swiftly becoming obsolete.

It is possible for young women who are attractive to be subjected to unwelcome catcalls, which are often conveyed with a’s-s-s’ sound, or “Mira mami!” (‘Look, mom!’).

Having a bus seat relinquished for their comfort and having doors held open are examples of courtesies that are frequently observed.


Prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, Puerto Rico’s indigenous population was constituted of highly spiritual folks who worshipped a variety of gods thought to live in nature and who practiced a variety of religious practices. People held the common belief that these gods had complete control over everything, from the success or failure of crops to the choice of a spouse. When Ponce de León arrived in 1508, he brought with him several Roman Catholic priests who ministered to the new colony and set about converting the Taino Indians to the Christian faith, beginning with baptisms, all of that began to change.

  • According to various sources, the Roman Catholic faith is practiced by between 75 and 85 percent of the people of Puerto Rico today.
  • Each town has a Catholic church in its heart, which is commemorated with an annual festival in honor of its patron saint.
  • Tradition dictates that images of saints be displayed in traditional homes, and you can’t walk into a church without seeing throngs of women lighting candles and praying, or kissing the hem of a statue of Mary wearing a flowing gown.
  • On the other hand, some Puerto Ricans of African heritage perform Santera, which was brought to the island by Yoruba slaves who were brought from West Africa.
  • The botanicas on the island are frequented by practitioners of both religions, who shop for roots, herbs, candles, soaps, and amulets that are used to sway the spirits in order to help individuals achieve success in their endeavors, whether they be in business, love, or starting a family.

Over the last few decades, a strong presence of Pentecostal fundamentalism has arisen on the island, and there is also a tiny Jewish population.

Related Travel Guide

There are several important areas that you will get a grasp of. These are as follows:

  • Language, religion, and beliefs, culture, and society are all covered. Customs and manners in social situations
  • Business etiquette and business culture
You might be interested:  How To Improve Company Culture

Fresh fruit is available for purchase in the streets of San Juan. Unsplash image courtesy of Ruoyu Lion


Remember that this is merely a very basic level introduction to Puerto Rico, its culture, and its people; it does not attempt to account for the variety that exists within Puerto Rican society and is not intended to stereotype any of the individuals you may encounter while visiting the island!

Facts and Statistics

  • Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean, on an island that is between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean east of the country. San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico. Three red stripes on the flag represent the blood shed by the martyrs who gave their lives in the service of their nation. Two white stripes indicate peace and triumph, while the white stripe represents Puerto Rico and the blue stripe depicts the sky and the ocean. The national anthem of Puerto Rico is “La Borinquena,” which was selected as the country’s anthem in 1952. Nationality: Puerto Rican (although the term “Boricua” is frequently used)
  • Ethnic composition: 99 percent of Puerto Ricans are Latino, with whites accounting for 75.8 percent, blacks/African Americans accounting for 12.4 percent, other 8.5 percent (which includes American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and others), and mixed 3.3 percent (as of 2010). Population: 3,294,626 (estimated as of July 2018)
  • Puerto Rico’s common wealth, according to the government.

Basic Overview of Puerto Rico

A large and flourishing tourist business exists in Puerto Rico, thanks to the island’s long coastline, gorgeous sandy beaches, and numerous options for scuba divers and surfers. Aside from that, it has a beautiful tropical scenery and rainforests.

  • The vast port in the capital city of San Juan, which is large enough to accommodate the major international cruise ships that go to the country, serves as a tourism destination for visitors from all over the world. Manufacturing is the most important sector of the economy, with businesses such as pharmaceuticals and textiles dominating the sector.

Language in Puerto Rico

The official languages of Puerto Rico are Spanish and English, which are both spoken by 90 percent of the population and 10 percent of the total population.

  • Spaniards are the primary written and spoken language in the fields of law, government, business, education, and everyday life. Taino, the languages spoken by indigenous populations of Caribbean heritage, had a role in the development of the linguistic composition of Puerto Rican spoken languages before the Spanish conquered the island.

Fajardo’s beach is a great place to relax. Photo courtesy of Sergio Otoya via Unsplash

Puerto Rico – Society and Culture

  • As is the case in most of the nations conquered by the Spanish, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in the country. The inhabitants of Puerto Rico, on the other hand, are not known for adhering to religion to the letter. Taino and African religious beliefs tend to be blended together in religious rituals. Despite the fact that Protestantism gained traction during the conquest of the United States in 1898, Roman Catholicism continues to be the largest religion in the country. Many islanders believe in the presence and potency of mal de ojo, just as they do with many other religious beliefs (the evil eye). When individuals or things are looked at with envy, it is thought that this might result in negative consequences, such as a vehicle crash (if others stare at the automobile with envy) or sickness and perhaps death to a kid (if someone looks at them with envy). It is common for people to wear a charm bracelet, which is thought to provide protection against the evil eye. In Puerto Rico, there is a great deal of religious freedom, and people are constitutionally allowed to practice their religion of choice.

Major Celebrations/Secular Celebrations

  • New Year’s Day (Da de Ao Nuevo) is celebrated on January 1st, while Three Kings Day (Da de Reyes) is celebrated on January 6th. The celebration of the visit of the three wise men to the infant Jesus is observed as an official holiday. The 13th of January is the birthday of Eugenio Mara de Hostos, also known as the “Natalicio de Eugenio Mara de Hostos.” The birthday of an important figure in the struggle for freedom is commemorated with an official holiday. Emancipation Day (Da de la Abolición de Esclavitud) is celebrated on March 22nd. Observed as a national holiday to commemorate the end of slavery Good Friday falls on the Friday before Easter. Memorial Day (Recordación de los Muertos de la Guerra) is observed on the last Monday in May. Columbus Day is celebrated on October 14th (Da de la Raza Descubrimiento de América). Christopher Columbus Day is an official holiday that honors the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The 25th of July is Commonwealth Constitution Day, which celebrates the arrival of troops from the United States of America. The 26th of November is Thanksgiving Day (Da de Acción de Gracias), while the 25th of December is Christmas Day. (Celebrate the holiday season.) Remember that the Christmas season in Puerto Rico lasts from Thanksgiving Day through the middle of January
  • This is important to remember because

Puerto Rican Family Values

  • In addition to serving as the foundation of stability, the family is believed to be the most durable social network. During times of need, the individual receives support and aid from his or her extended family, which is typically comprised of three generations of relatives. When at all feasible, the extended family will live together or in close proximity to one another. Loyalty to one’s family takes precedence over all other social relationships, including business. Nepotism is often regarded as a positive development since it entails employing individuals one knows and trusts, which is of major value
  • The oldest man in the extended family takes decisions that have an impact on the balance of the family’s resources.

Puerto Rican Hospitality

  • Individuals are often proud of their ability to provide hospitality. Each time a visitor comes to their home, hosts and hostesses go above and beyond to make them feel welcome and comfortable. Visitors to a house are given a great deal of attention, and the Puerto Ricans make every effort to fulfill their every demand.

Appearances Matter

  • Generally speaking, people place a high value on appearances, and they are quite fashion aware. Consider your look when you are in Puerto Rico, since the locals have a tendency to view appearance as a sign of social status and success
  • Take the time to dress appropriately and consider your appearance when you are in Puerto Rico. In general, clothing is of a high grade and composed of high-quality textiles. Designer labels, particularly those originating in the United States, are highly regarded.

Class in Puerto Rico

  • Following economic advancement in the 1940s and 1950s, the lines between social groups that had previously existed began to become increasingly blurred. With universal access to education, possibilities and social mobility had increased significantly by the beginning of the twenty-first century, blurring the distinctions between classes even further. Despite the fact that the class system is still visible, it has become far less visible.

It’s Party Time! Photograph courtesy of Jorge Rodriguez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

EtiquetteManners in Puerto Rico

  • Handshakes are customary, as is direct eye contact and a warm grin upon greeting. It is critical to maintain eye contact since it communicates interest. In your handshake, offer the proper greeting for the time of day, such as “buenos dias,” “buenas noches,” or “buenas tardes.”

Gift Giving Etiquette

  • If you are invited to a Puerto Rican’s house for dinner, please bring a present, such as wine, flowers, chocolates, or pastries. It is best not to provide corporate presents that are of worth. Instead, bring something that symbolizes your own nation or town to the party. When presents are presented by individuals, they are normally opened immediately upon receipt. When presents are delivered by a group of people, however, the receiver is more likely to open them in a more private setting. This is done in an effort to prevent comparisons between the presents that have been provided
  • Yet,

Dining Etiquette

If you are welcomed to a Puerto Rican’s house, you should do the following:

  • Dress appropriately because the majority of locals take pleasure in their appearance and assess others based on their dress. If you appear messy or unkempt when you arrive, this will be interpreted negatively. It is important not to overpraise an item at your host’s home because of the evil eye (as previously explained)
  • In spite of the fact that timeliness is considered a positive trait, visitors are not required to appear on time for social events. Arriving between 15 and 30 minutes later than the scheduled time is regarded on time
  • In many cases, many generations reside in the same house at one time. Show respect for the elderly in the family

Watch your table manners!

  • Keep your eyes out for the host or hostess who will direct you to your seat. It’s possible that there will be a seating chart. Table manners are Continental in nature: while eating, the fork should be held in the left hand and the knife in the right
  • In most cases, meals are served family-style or in a buffet format. The first to be served are the guests
  • To signal that it is time to begin eating, the host says, “buen provecho,” which means “enjoy” or “have a good meal.” Maintain visibility of your hands at all times when eating, but avoid resting your elbows on the table. A tiny bit of food may remain on your plate after you have completed eating
  • However, this is not recommended. As soon as you have completed your meal, arrange your knife and fork across your plate so that the prongs are pointing downward and the handles are pointing to the right.


  • Because of the impact of the United States on Puerto Rico, tipping largely follows the culture of the United States. Bartenders should receive a gratuity in the neighborhood of $1 per drink
  • Taxi drivers should get between 10 and 15 percent of the fare collected. In the case of restaurants, 15 percent of the bill should be considered unless a service fee has been levied.

A platter of freshly prepared Rican food, comprising pinchos (kebabs), shrimp and pork, chicken wings, and tostones (corn tortillas). J. Barry took the photograph (CC BY 2.0)

Business Culture and Etiquette in Puerto Rico

  • Style is vital, although formality is not always required
  • Some sectors may have a relatively flexible dress code
  • This is especially true in the service industry. Overall, conservative and dark attire is worn by males – some may wear an aguayaba shirt with a pair of fine pants
  • Others will dress more casually. In most cases, women dress in work suits or dresses.


  • Networking is a vital component of doing business since it broadens your network of connections, and consequently, the number of individuals who can help you along the path. The correct individual is frequently more significant than what you know in this nation
  • Therefore, knowing the right person is essential. A highly developed art form is the practice of doing favors and collecting favors owed. There is a lot of name-dropping, and nepotism does not have the bad connotation that it has in many other nations. When it comes to building connections, trust is essential. It is critical that you treat your business colleagues with decency and refrain from doing anything that might lead them to lose their reputation. Senior positions in business are overwhelmingly held by members of the upper class
  • As a result, it is critical that you understand the hierarchical structure and show appropriate deference and respect to those in positions of power.

When conducting business in Puerto Rico, make a good first impression by dressing appropriately and striking the correct mix between personal and professional. Photo courtesy of JAXPORT (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Business Meeting Etiquette

  • Business appointments are essential and may easily be booked on short notice
  • Nevertheless, it is preferable to plan them 2 to 3 weeks in advance by telephone, email, or fax to avoid disappointment. Arrive on time for all meetings and appointments. Despite the fact that residents try for timeliness, they do not always succeed in their endeavor. You, on the other hand, should put out the necessary effort. Often, the initial encounter is rather official
  • Nonetheless, small conversation can assist develop a working relationship. Do not immediately start talking about business
  • Instead, wait a few minutes. You should make sure that any written information is accessible in both English and Spanish. Don’t assume that all of your colleagues will be able to communicate in English. It may be required to bring an interpreter, so be sure you know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Meetings are frequently interrupted, and numerous persons may be speaking at the same time in a given meeting. Face expressions and physical movements should be avoided since gestures are context-dependent and may not always communicate effectively between cultures.

Business Negotiation Etiquette

  • Puerto Ricans are known for engaging in small conversation before getting down to business, and this is expected since they want to get to know individuals before doing business. In order to get a consensus, multiple meetings will be required. Negotiation and the provision of enough consultation time are essential. In comparison to business documentation, relationships are considered more crucial. Negotiations and decision-making are time-consuming processes. Hierarchy is vital, despite the fact that it is not always obvious. Always defer to the person in the position of most power, as they are more likely to make the final choice
  • When it comes to making choices, there are sometimes lengthy bureaucratic delays. Please be patient. In the event that you attempt to expedite the procedure, you will be perceived as unpleasant and pushy. Avoid using high-pressure sales techniques.

Business Cards

  • During introductions, business cards are exchanged without following any specific protocol. Translation of one side of your business card into Spanish is recommended. The receiver should be presented with your business card with the Spanish side up.


  • Despite the fact that Puerto Ricans support equality, machismo is nevertheless pervasive on a cultural level throughout the country. Despite the fact that Puerto Rican males are accustomed to seeing women in positions of power and authority, this does not necessarily translate into how they act or treat them.

Being a Manager in Puerto Rico

  • Puerto Ricans are conservative and traditional, and they require correct decorum at all times, despite their outward warmth and hospitality. Understanding this will help you thrive in your intercultural management endeavors in Puerto Rico. Remember to use good etiquette and avoid being excessively nice until you have established a personal relationship with the other person. For additional in-depth information on this issue, please see ourManagement Guide to Puerto Rico.

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