December 20, 2010

Christmas in Puerto Rico

Doesn't feel like Christmas here yet. Something about 85 degree weather everyday makes it hard for a native Michigander like myself to get into the holiday spirit. I don't have any decorations up, no lights, no tree, nothing of the sort. (For the record, my lack of decor isn't indicative of my grinchy-ness, it's mostly due to, uh, budgetary constraints.)

I, however, am just one sunburned Michigander on an island full of people who love Christmas. Puerto Rico is mostly Christian (and most of that demo is Catholic), so Christmas is kind of a big deal here. Just because I'm not decorating doesn't mean everyone else down here isn't. Downtown Ponce is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights. Lots of houses in the barrio put some Stateside displays to shame.

Like the states, Black Friday was a stay-offa-the-roads kind of day that left the retailers trashed. Even now, Walmart is a zoo and must be avoided at all costs.

There are all kinds of non-English alternatives for carols. Ever wondered how Silver Bells sounds in Spanish? Come visit. This means that I have not heard the usual barrage of Christmas classics since Thanksgiving like the rest of ya's. So I can still handle me some Perry Como.

Actually, Christmas here goes beyond Christmas in the states. It officially starts with Thanksgiving and goes until Three Kings Day, January 6, which corresponds with the Feast of Epiphany. I didn't know anything about Three Kings Day until I got here. The town of Juana Diaz, just up the street, is Three Kings Day central, apparently. Crowds from around the island come for the spectacle, and I heard they send people to Rome to meet the Pope in preparation for it.

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