Everything is closed on public holidays. One of the most important is 24 June, though in fact the capital grinds to a halt the previous afternoon and everyone heads for the beach. There is loud salsa music and barbecues until midnight when everyone walks backwards into the sea to greet the Baptist and ensure good fortune. 25 July is the DÃa de la ConstituciÃ³n and when this takes place on a weekend it is almost impossible to get a hotel room. Reservations should be made in advance. Every town/city has local holidays for harvest festivals (pineapple, tobacco, sugar cane, etc) and for celebration of the town's saint. There is a festival somewhere every week.
Several towns and regions also have pre-lenten carnivales, complete with parades, folk music, local dishes, a carnival queen pageant, and music competitions. all are in early to late February.
New Year's Day (1 Jan) - Public holiday; most businesses closed.
Three King's Day (6 Jan) - Religious holiday celebrated around the island with feasts and parties.
De Hostos Day (11 Jan) - Half-day holiday honors Eugenio Maria de Hostos, an educator and patriot.
San Sebastian Street Festival (mid-January) - Street party in Old San Juan with music, dancing, food and crafts.
San Blas Marathon (early Feb) - Half-marathon in the southern town of Coamo attracts international and local runners. It's Puerto Rico's biggest race, and the crowds are always large.
Ponce Carnival (late February) - Every city in Puerto Rico honors its patron saint with a festival, but Ponce celebrates in grand fashion with processions, parades and floats. Colorful paper-mache masks are worn by many of the revelers.
Emancipation Day (22 Mar) - This half-day holiday commemorates the emancipation of slaves.
Good Friday and Easter - These religious holidays are the most solemn days of the year. The island nearly comes to a halt.
De Diego Day (19 Apr) - Celebration of the birth of Jose de Diego, writer, poet and statesman who was the first Puerto Rican president under U.S. rule.
Casals Festival (mid-June) - The island's premier cultural event honors Pablo Casals, who founded the festival in 1957. It showcases top musicians from around the world as well as local talent. At the Performing Arts Center in Santurce. Tickets US $20-$40; phone 809-721-7727 or 728-5744.
San Juan Bautista Day (23 Jun) - The island's patron saint is celebrated at the beach, as "sanjuaneros" take to the water backward in order to bring good luck for the coming year.
Barranquitas Artisans Fair (mid July) - The original artisans' fair in the hill town of Barranquitas still draws hundreds of crafts people (carvings, masks, jewelry, and paintings).
Munoz Rivera Day (19 Jul) - Celebration of birth date of statesman Luis Munoz Rivera, Puerto Rico's first resident commissioner in Washington and father of Puerto Rico's first elected governor, Luis Munoz Marin.
Loiza Carnival (late July) - St. James the Apostle is honored as Loiza residents masquerade with masks and costumes designed to frighten off the evil spirits. Music, dancing, food and crafts.
Bomba y Plena (7-9 Oct) - Music festival celebrating the island's African-Caribbean heritage with music and dancing in Old San Juan.
Columbus Day (21 Oct) - Half-day holiday, known as La Raza, that commemorate Columbus' landing in the New World.
Discovery Day (19 Nov) - Public holiday commemorating the day in 1493 when Columbus reached Puerto Rico; all businesses closed.
Thanksgiving Day (mid-November) - Businesses and offices closed. Most families gather for dinner; many restaurants offer special meals at reasonable prices.
Bacardi Arts Festival - The largest festival for artisans on the island. Just about every craftsman turns out for this fair on the grounds of the Bacardi Rum Distillery.
Christmas Day (25 Dec) - Religious holiday; most businesses closed.
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