Ponce Carnival or Ponceño Carnival is a 5-day celebration that has been held every year for more than a century. Today it constitutes one of the oldest and most important carnivals in the country. The carnivals feature a large repertoire of activities, including the coronation of the Carnival Queen, the Grand Parade, artistic presentations and the corresponding Burial of the Sardine..
Also, the carnival has the particularity of maintaining in its traditions the characters called “Vejigantes”. These characters are characterized by wearing masks somewhat grotesque with open jaw, exposed teeth and horns from his face and head. In addition, they carry pigtails and inflated bladders, painted in colors with which they annoy people. These charactersrepresent good over evil.
Ponce Carnival is considered “the carnival of Puerto Rico” and attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year with its name. In addition, the Carnival is a great contribution to the city’s economy, with around US$500,000 per season.
The Ponce Carnival will take place from approximately February 10 to 16.
It is believed that the Ponce carnival has influences from the Nice carnival, when the tradition was carried through Spanish immigrants who arrived in Ponce..
At present, there is no specific date as to when the carnivals in Ponce began to be celebrated, however, they are first mentioned in 1858. In that year a mask dance was held, carried out by José de la Guardia. The dances were perpetuated as a tradition until the mid-20th century, when other traditional elements were added to the festivities. In the 1960s, carros alegóricos, which were performed by the different sectors of society, including the educational, private and public sectors, began to be integrated.
In 1995 different artists took to New York the different elements of thePonce carnival to the Puerto Rican Day Parade, where they also participated in mask making and exhibitions.
The Ponce carnivals are held in the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico..
The Ponce Carnival or Carnaval de Ponce is a celebration full of color, music and cultural manifestations. Year after year, thousands of tourists come to the town to be part of one of the most emblematic carnivals in the country. Its colorful and mysterious characters, the Carnival Queens and the cultural performances are undoubtedly the most festive elements of the carnivals. However, there are a number of lively refrains that stand out during the carnival season that have characterized this celebration for several decades.
As people pass through the streets they are heard chanting the following refrains:
“Vejigante a la bolla, pan y cebolla.”
“Toco toco toco toco, Vejigante come coco”.
“Prucuta prucuta y bueno que’tá”
“Esa vieja e’ bruja, bruja es y tiene los ojos color cafe”
“Vejigante ate mango and even his nails were lambió”
“The Vejigante is painted in yellow and corolla”.
If you want to attend the Ponce carnivals, be sure to plan your trip in advance, make a travel itinerary and book your lodging with some time to spare.
Also, we recommend you bring a raincoat or umbrella, as there is a chance of precipitation.
If you want to know more about tourism in this country, I recommend this guide:
The first day of the celebration is the entrada del Rey Momo. During the day, cultural activities and musical presentations take place. Also, the farewell parade of queens and the entrance of the King Momo take place.
The following day, thecrowning of the Children’s Carnival Queen and the crowning of the Carnival Queen take place. During the day some parades are held with the presence of bands, musical presentations, dances and presentation of flags.
The following day takes place the Grand Carnival Parade with the presence of the Carnival Queens, the comparsas with their carrozas and the bandas musicales. The dancers take to the streets of the city to perform their choreographies. The Vejigantes also make an appearance with their inflated and painted vejigas.
Finally, theBurial of the Sardine takes place, bringing the carnivals to an end.
The carnival parade takes place on the last day. The streets are filled with people who want to witness the arrival of the floats and comparsas.
From afar you can see the dancers with theircolorful and bright costumes, performing choreographies andenjoying the festivities. Also seen is the presence of the Vejigantes, who with their inflated and painted bladders make a ruckus and slap the people. The streets of the city are filled with music with the bands, prolonging the celebration for several hours.
Normally, the parade starts at Centro del Sur and ends at Plaza de Las Delicias.
One of the foods you can try during the carnivals of Ponce is the Mofongo, a dish that is made with fried green plantains, seasoned with salt, garlic and onion. You can also try the sancocho, a meat, vegetable and corn broth.
In addition, the city of Ponce offers you some alternatives to eat out. Some of these are: Lola, El Negocio de Panchi and La Casa Del Chef.
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Within the Carnival you can attend the entrance and parade of King Momo which is accompanied by some cultural performances, music and dancing. Likewise, you can alsoattend the crowning of the Carnival Queens with their respective parade.
In addition, you cannot miss the Grand Parade with the presence of the carrozas, comparsas, dancers, cultural presentations and Vejigantes. Finally, you cannot miss the Burial of the Sardine, the culmination ceremony of the festivities.
During the festivities there aremusical presentations and traditional dances in which you can also attend.
The city offers you some tourist attractions such as:
It is a historical monument where you can find articles and historical pieces of the city.
It is a museum that was inaugurated in 1965. Within its facilities are thousands of pieces in the different galleries, which are composed of paintings from regions such as Spain, France and England.
(Box of the Dead).
It is an island located a few kilometers from Ponce. It is currently uninhabited and is listed as a nature reserve.
The city of Ponce is relatively safe. We recommend you implement basic preventive measures that you would use in your hometown. Also, we recommend the following products to store your items safely:
The weather is pleasant during the celebration of Carnival in the city of Ponce, with temperatures ranging from 21 to 29 degrees Celsius. However, there is some possibility of precipitation.
The closest airport to Ponce is the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, the main air gateway to Puerto Rico. From here you can use different means of transportation to get to the city of Ponce.
From the airport you can take the PR-52 Highway to Ponce. The drive is 1 hour and a half.
3-star hotel 250 meters from the center. Rooms have satellite TV and private bathrooms. The hotel offers parking and free wifi.
4-star hotel 150 meters from the city center. Rooms have television and private bathrooms. Facilities include laundry service, swimming pool, bar, parking and free wifi.
3-star hotel 250 from the city center. Rooms have air conditioning, cable TV and private bathrooms. The hotel offers 2 swimming pool, bar, parking and free wifi.
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