I have stolen this guy's information before, and will again, but thought the last day of May is a good day to highlight some fun things going on on the big island in June. Of course, many of us tend to get over there for sheer sight seeing about as often as lots of people over there get here, but maybe we'll be more encouraged to go knowing good food and street parties await!
June is a month for the saints and food in Puerto Rico. Many towns are celebrating their annual patron saint festivals, or fiestas patronales, a great way to experience a slice of true local culture for free. And other towns are all about honoring the local ingredients that go into Puerto Rico's delicious cuisine.
- June 6: Día de las Veredas takes birders on a bird-watching tour in Maricao.
- June 7-8: The town of Hatillo's sugarcane festival commemorates the annual planting of this saccharine crop.
- June 7-9: The Festival del Guineo, or Banana Festival, kicks off in Lares, with foods and pastries made using the fruit of honor.
- June 7-16: Guayama throws its patron saint its annual festival, honoring San Antonio de Padua.
- June 12-16: The town of Dorado also pays homage to San Antonio de Padua.
- June 13-17: The town of Barranquitas honors its patron saint. The saint? San Antonio de Padua.
- June 14-16: Isabela gives thanks to ... you guessed it, San Antonio de Padua, with its annual festival.
- June 15-18: Guánica throws a festival for the crab, or jueye.
- June 20-22: Mayagüez has its own food to honor, and will do so at the Festival Nacional del Mango.
- June 23: Isla Verde throws a party in honor of Saint John the Baptist on San Juan Bautista Day.
- June 25-27: Dorado welcomes amateur golfers at the Honda Classic.
- June 25-29: Toa Baja's patron saint is St. Peter, and he gets his annual festival this week.
We also have our patron saint of Culebra, St. Carmen, patron saint of mariners (and also the Virgin Mary - go ask a priest, I don't know the answer to that one), who gets her day mid-July in coastal towns around the world. Each year since I've been here, we seem to see less and less participating in this celebration, which takes the form of her statue, draped with flowers, being paraded on the water by boat, with other flower laden boats as escorts. This photo is from Tenerife, but all over Spain this festival is huge, happy and beautiful.
I'm not an organized religion type of person, but I think anything that might help boost the spirits of Culebra and send along some help from high places is something we should at least be standing on the bridge with flowers to acknowledge and encourage! Another Carmen (who doesn't have a statue in her honor - yet), usually clues me in as to the timing of this; I'll try to ask early this year - as in right now - for the info to pass it along.
Another festival not on this list (and I'm sure there are many, any excuse for a party is an unofficial Puerto Rican motto) is the Aibonito Flower Festival, or Festival de Flores de Aibonito, which comes at the tail end of June (and going into July) in the mid-island town of Aibonito and looks like a great one.