My Puerto Rican Culture
Lydia, TAPCo

Most of my culture is about tradition and celebration, from what my grandmother tells me. The aroma from kitchens throughout Puerto Rico come from Adobo and Sofrito. These are blends of herbs and spices. Puerto Ricans love to cook.

Photo of me at Video-Link
Appetizers such as Bacalaitos (crunchy codfritters), Surullitos (sweet plump cornmeal fingers), Empanadillas (crescent turnovers filled with lobster, crab, conch, or beef) have been pased down from generation to generation.
Soups are known to "cure the sick" and "fill tummies", as my grandmother puts it. Her favorites are Sopon de pollo con Arroz (chicken soup with rice), Frigoles negros (black bean soup), and Sopon de pescado (fish soup).

I love the smell of roasted pig. Now we use ovens; but on the island, the dish of Lechon Asado (
barbecued pig) was cooked over an open pit. The pig hung by a stick and was rotated as it cooked. This was traditional for picnics and parties. The most common desserts are Boudin de pasas con coco (coco bread pudding), Arroz dulce (candied coconut rice). These desserts are traditional for the holidays.

Holidays are very special to me and my family. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are colorful religous processions and ceremonies. Thanksgiving and Christmas are perfect! Family and friends get to gether to eat, drink, dance, talk, and all have a wonderful time.

Puerto Ricans on the island celebrate Three Kings Day. This traditional gift giving holiday is celebrated on January 6th. On the evening of January 5th, boys and girls place clumps of hay or grass and a bowl of water for the kings camels in boxes under their beds. Custom has it that the grateful three kings would leave presents at childrens bedsides. We don't practice this in the U.S. and very few still practice it in Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico they celebrate many fiestas. One major festival is Fiestas Patronales. These festivities are held in each town's plaza to honor the areas patron saint. This fiesta lasts ten days there is religious processions, games, food, and dance.

My mom remembers when she was a young girl. The family would get together and play instruments such as El Guiro (
a hollowed gourd with ridges cut into it and played with a wire fork), Conga (drum made of a hollow free trunk with an animals' skin stretched across one end), and Cuatro (derived from a spanish guitar, it has five double strings). The men would play dominoes and wear guayabera (a traditional dress for men on the island shaped rather like a jacket or an extended shirt). My grandfather still wears guayaberas.

Many Puerto Ricans consider themsleves American, but are proud of their island and culture. Calling themselves Puertorriquenos or Buricas. I love getting to knowing the traditions, folklore, hospitality, and the way of life of my people.

This experience was very special to me because I got to learn more about my family's culture and background. To hear this information from my mother and grandmother is amazing to me because they remember the beautiful traditions about my culture. I hope I will get to know even more about my family's history.

After talking to my grandmother and mother about my culture, I feel that other kinds of cultures should learn about it and I should get to learn their culture too. Maybe there could be some kind of connection that the two cultures have in common, and most students don't know it because they haven't gotten a chance to study and learn more from them.