VOY SUBIENDO… TO THE SANSE STREET FESTIVAL

Some say Puerto Rican Christmas are the longest Christmas in the world. Whether that’s true or false, what I can say from my own experience is that Puerto Ricans know how to say farewell to Christmas better than anyone.

On the third week of January my parents and I decided to escape the snowy Chicago winter and travel to Puerto Rico. What we didn’t know was that we traveled on the exact San Sebastian Street Festival (also known as Sanse) weekend, the most important festival in the country and the official closing event of the Christmas season. The surprise couldn’t be better, as we were staying at El Convento right at the center of all the happening.

During 5 straight days, we got to discover Puerto Rican culture at its best. Every day from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m. there were lots of events happening all around Old San Juan.
We spent our days walking around the Ballajá Barracks, an 1800’s military barracks built by the Spanish militia that now houses cultural organizations. During the Festival its square is filled with hundreds of tents where local artisans sell a big variety of products. I didn’t need to leave Old San Juan to do my shopping, I found unique beautiful pieces right there.

A couple times a day we saw “Comparsas de Cabezudos”. Cabezudos are big papier maché heads depicting traditional characters, joined by a parade of musicians, dancers and acrobats performing on stilts.

One of the things I will always remember is a very sticky song everyone chanted in the streets, I even got to learn a bit of the lyrics: “Voy subiendo, voy bajando, tu vives como yo vivo, yo vivo vacilando” we sang that (in our terrible spanish) every time we encountered a group of people, that was very fun.

Our days during the Festival were filled with music, delicious food and colorful memories. What a great way to say goodbye to Christmas!

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