San Juan Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(San Juan, Puerto Rico)




Puerto Ricans love their festivals, and there are several going on across the island every day of the year, from the national holidays celebrating important dates in the country's heritage through annual religious events, to the great street parties of San Juan, in typical flamboyant Mardi Gras and Carnaval style.

Music and dance are a major part of Caribbean life and always present at Caribbean festivals, as is food, drink and a great deal of fun. Many annual events and things to do stand out during the year, with highlights including the Casals Festival each February, the Celebration of the Patron Saint (Fiesta de San Juan Bautista) in June, and the Film Festival (Fiesta de Pelicula) in the middle of October. During the first two Sundays every December, the Bacardi Artisans Fair (Fiesta Artisanos de Bacardi) is one to look out for.


San Juan Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015



January


  • New Year's Day - a public holiday throughout Puerto Rico
  • San Sebastian Festival - held every January during the third week in San Juan. This is a huge street party, and the most spectacular and popular of the city's annual events
  • Three Kings' Day (Feast of the Epiphany) - January 6th, Puerto Rico's equivalent of Christmas Eve, when all good (or not so good) children are given gifts, ostensibly by the Three Kings
  • Birthday of Eugenio Maria de Hostos - January 10th, a holiday in honour of this national patriot
  • Martin Luther King Jr Day - held on the third Monday each January

February


  • Casals Festival - held since 1957 for several weeks in late February as a tribute to the much-loved world-famous cellist, Pablo Casals, who lived here for almost 20 years, until his death. This is the Caribbean's premier classical music event and attracts many top classical music artistes every year. Exact dates vary according to concert schedules
  • Gallery Nights (Noches de Galerias) - February to May, with local galleries opening until late on the first Tuesday each February, March, April and May

March


  • Ponce Carnival - Puerto Rico's Mardi Gras, celebrated during the week preceding Ash Wednesday. One of the oldest celebrations in Puerto Rico, dating back to the 18th century, it is fun, raucous and ends with the solemn burial of a sardine in a coffin. Dates vary annually according to the Christian calendar
  • Emancipation Day - March 22nd, remembering this day in 1873, when slavery on the island was abolished
  • Easter Celebrations - late March / early April, with Good Friday being a public holiday

April


  • Puerto Rico Food Festival - first staged in 2008, bringing in top chefs and TV personalities from all over the world to compete with local chefs. Expect food tastings, plenty of rum and a great culinary experience. Dates vary annually according to guest schedules
  • Jose de Diego Day - April 18th, a national holiday in Puerto Rico

May


  • Memorial Day - an official holiday taking place all over the island annually on the last Monday every May. It celebrates all who gave their lives for independence from Spanish colonial rule
  • Jazz Festival - late May to early June, the island's premier jazz fest, sponsored by Heineken and featuring some of the best Latin American jazz artists and musicians in existence

June


  • Puerto Rico Salsa Congress - running for a week in June, honouring this world-famous dance form. Aficionados arrive for its highlight, the World Salsa Open. Exact dates vary from year to year
  • Celebration of the Patron Saint (Fiesta de San Juan Bautista) - held on the week before June 24th, with religious parades, beauty queens and evening fireworks

July


  • Independence Day - celebrated annually on July 4th across the island, with festivities marking freedom from Spanish colonial rule
  • Luis Monoz Rivera's Birthday - July 18th, commemorating this acclaimed political leader
  • Commonwealth Constitution Day - July 25th, a public holiday in Puerto Rico
  • Jose Celso Barbosa's Birthday - July 27th, another national holiday

August


  • San Juan International Billfish Tournament - taking place for a week every August at the peak of the deep sea fishing season. International anglers fish all day and party all night. Event dates vary

September


  • Labour Day - festivities take place every year on the first Monday in September, a federal holiday

October


  • Columbus Day - commemorating the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Puerto Rico, being held annually on the second Monday in October
  • Film Festival (Fiesta de Pelicula) - mid-October, a week-long event with more than 100 different new movies screened at venues around the city

November


  • Veteran's Day - November 11th, a public holiday with various local activities
  • Thanksgiving Day - falling on the fourth Thursday in November and signifying the beginning of the Christmas season in this Catholic country
  • Culinary Festival - an open-air culinary event which is often staged during the first week in November, over three nights, when the Fortaleza area is closed to traffic. Live music, belly dancing and mouthwatering food are just some of the highlights

December


  • Bacardi Artisans Fair (Feria Bacardi / Fiesta Artisanos de Bacardi) - held early December at Bacardi Rum's Catano distillery, this is the biggest artisans' fair in the Caribbean. Endless craft and traditional artefact stalls, live music, rides and a troubadour contest give a great day out
  • Christmas Day - December 25th, a family time with present giving and beach fun on this day, the 'Dia de Navidad'







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