When Google brought hundreds of Puerto Rican artworks online Thursday for the world to enjoy, the spirit of Lin-Manuel Miranda was, as the Hamilton lyrics go, in the room where it happened.
The actor, composer and lyricist partnered with the Google Arts & Culture initiative to digitize treasures from the island, some in exquisitely high resolution that allows viewers to study the works down to their intricate shadows and brush strokes.
At their most basic, marquesinas are parties that have a real makeshift feel to them. “Marquesinas happen in the spaces where you park your cars (garages or car ports), which are transformed into areas for parties,” Payola Co, the founder of Radiored tells Remezcla. “They’re homespun, and they bring together friends, families and neighbors.”
Puerto Rican reggaetonero and trap artist El Conejo Malo has gone from bagging groceries in his home town of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico to a full-fledged award-winning artist in the span of just a couple years. While the 25-year-old has become an international success, he’s committed to his roots and it shows.
His album X100pre Nochebuena is the gift that keeps on giving to the world. For any Boricua that has his album on loop, you might keep picking up on new gems along the way.
“Que cosa brava, que cosa bella, estar rodeada de mujeres pleneras,” sing the women of Plena Combativa, one of the few all-woman groups performing the Puerto Rican folk musical tradition on the island, outside a tiny wooden house in the rural northeastern town of Ceiba.
They’re playing the pandereta plenera and güiro under the searing Caribbean sun while standing on the porch of the late Isabel Rosado, a leader of Puerto Rico’s independence movement. A small crowd has gathered to remember the life of a woman who was imprisoned for her commitment to the liberation of their shared tierra.
Happy New Year from CaliRicans.com! In the days approaching New Years Eve I linked to a New Year traditions article that pointed out the tradition of wearing yellow underwear for good luck for the new year in Puerto Rico. While this is a popular tradition in Puerto Rico (and other Spanish speaking countries), it isn’t the only one. Read on about more New Year’s traditions in Puerto Rico…
One popular tradition in Puerto Rico is cleaning the inside and outside of the home before the New Year arrives. It is believed that the condition that you welcome the new year will be the condition that will prevail in the new year. This is why many people also choose to wear new clothing to receive the new year with new things. People also throw buckets of water out of their window or balcony to clean out the old year and others believe it also drives away evil spirits or demons and scares away bad luck.
Another popular tradition that originates from Spain is to eat 12 grapes during the last 12 seconds of the ending year. Each time the clock chimes you eat a grape and must finish all grapes by midnight! It is said that if you finish eating all of the grapes you will have good luck for the rest of the year. There are some variations to this tradition though. Some say that you have to say the name of each month as each grape is consumed, and slipping or dropping a grape forecasts bad luck for that particular month. Others say a wish before eating each grape and if successful each wish will be granted throughout the year.
Then, of course, there is the yellow underwear tradition. The tradition is that yellow will bring luck, wealth and happiness in the New Year. For this tradition you have to buy yellow underwear, wait until midnight, and when midnight strikes you must run to a place to change from your old underwear to your yellow underwear. It is believed that your luck will change as well. Why yellow? Yellow is the color most closely associated with gold and money. To be lucky the underwear must be new, and for it to be extra lucky I heard it should be worn inside out. Another way for your yellow underwear to be super lucky is if you received it as a gift.
If wealth, happiness and luck isn’t your thing, you can always wear red underwear (for passion, love, romance), pink underwear (for love), white underwear (for health, fertility, peace) or green underwear (for luck).
Unfortunately this folklore only applies to female underwear. I was asked what do men wear? Well, some don’t have a problem with this tradition…
But for those who don’t want to strictly follow the tradition, yellow boxers or briefs should be fine. Some people even choose to wear their new yellow underwear before midnight strikes to avoid the mad dash to the restroom at midnight for the underwear change!
During the New Year’s celebrations in Puerto Rico you also hear people blasting their car horns, boat whistles, ringing church bells and beating drums to drive away evil spirits and demons. Some people also throw sugar around the outside of their home to attract good luck and ward off bad luck. Fireworks have always been a huge tradition but they have since been outlawed.
And last but not least, Puerto Ricans cannot welcome the New Year without traditional Puerto Rican food like asopao and arroz con gandules! Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!