This is my 5th week doing Kulture for Kids and it has been wonderful so far. This week we are learning about Puerto Rico.
ABOUT PUERTO RICO:
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. This means that US law governs the country, but they do not fall under our constitution and they do not have to pay US income tax. Many times territories are eventually let go and they become their own nations, like the Philippines. Puerto Rico is an Island in the Caribbean that was a Spanish territory before we obtained it after the Spanish-American War. Because the territory is not a state, she is overseen directly by the Federal Government.
FOOD IN PUERTO RICO:
Breakfast in Puerto Rico is usually quite simple. Maizena is like a slightly sweetened breakfast custard made from cornstarch that is sometimes eaten in the mornings. For Lunch and supper most times beans and rice can be served along with some type of stewed, grilled, or baked meat, like beef or chicken. Puerto Rican style Cazuela Chicken is seasoned with Cumin and Oregano and cooked in orange and lime juice.
PUERTO RICAN FOLK DRESS:
Puerto Rico, once a Spanish colony, and also a place where the Spanish brought with them the people from Africa, has a very rich mixed culture. The folk dress is a blend of both in some ways, though you can mainly see the dominate Spanish influence. These are some examples of folk dress in Puerto Rico, however there are many different varieties through out her villages and cities.
PUERTO RICAN LANGUAGE:
The official language of Puerto Rico is Spanish, but it is a bit different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. Over time people have made the language their own, so some words are different. Also, a lot of people in Puerto Rico also speak English now.
In Puerto Rico, even though some words may be different, they use the Spanish alphabet, which contains 29 letters. The Spanish alphabet has all the letters the English alphabet has, plus a few more that make special sounds.
RELIGION IN PUERTO RICO:
Most people in Puerto Rico are Christian, and of those, most are Roman Catholics. Catholicism was the main religion of the Spanish explorers and settlers, so they passed their religion onto the native inhabitants. This also means that many holidays in Puerto Rico are Christian ones and follow Catholic tradition.
TOYS AND GAMES IN PUERTO RICO:
Like children all over the world, Puerto Rican children play a lot of the same games and with the same toys. One very popular game in Puerto Rico is a game called “La Gallinita Ciega,” which means. “The Blind Little Hen.” This game was brought to Puerto Rico from the Spaniards. It is actually a very old game. Another game that is just like it comes from England, Scotland and Ireland, called “Blind Man’s Buff.”
The game is played outdoors or in a large room. The children make a big circle, and one person “The Blind Little Hen” is blindfolded and turned in a circle 3 times, then someone leads them into the middle of the circle. The hen then must find another person on the rim of the circle, and by gently touching the face, must identify the person in order to change places. The Hen is allowed to move around the circle until he/she guesses someone. The person identified then becomes “The Blind Little Hen.” No one must not speak and try not to laugh or the Blind Little Hen will guess who you are.
Read more about “The Blind Little Hen” and the history of the game HERE.
MUSIC IN PUERTO RICO:
One traditional style of music in Puerto Rico is Bomba. It is a mixture of Spanish, African and Native Taino music:
Another style, more recent, that has developed in the Caribbean, that also has strong Latin/Spanish and African influence, is Reggaeton. According to Wikipedia “Reggaeton blends musical influences of Jamaican dancehall and Trinidadian Soca with those of Latin America such as Salsa, Bomba, Latin American hip hop, and electronica. Vocals include rapping and singing, typically in Spanish.”
My children’s Godfather, Julio DrJay Colon, is a Recording Artist/Producer/Song Writer at KoneXion Latina Music. His music is an example of Puerto Rican Reggaeton. KoneXion Latina Music and VG Music Group won the 2013 Fox Music Award for Best Urban Music.
DANCING IN PUERTO RICO:
Puerto Ricans, like most Latin Cultures are world renowned dancers. They have a very festive culture. Like their music, dancing styles are a mixture of Spanish, African and Taino.
Like Bomba music, Bomba the dance is a musical expression from the 17th Century West Africans that were brought to the Island by the Spanish to work the sugar plantations. The women’s lifting of the skirt to show their legs and/or slips is said to ridicule high society European ladies of the plantation owners and their way of dress. This dance of Bomba is more African than Spanish than the version we saw in the music section.
The original natives of Puerto Rico, were the Tainos Indians, known as the Arawak people.
This traditional dance is heavily Spanish influenced.
Now, in Modern Puerto Rico, most people are fused with all three cultures and have now become distinctly Puerto Rican.
Puerto Ricans love to celebrate. There are all kinds of carnivals all through out the year. Like most nations that were built up by African slavery and/or indentured servitude a significant cause for joyous celebration is emancipation. Emancipation day is celebrated March 22 in Puerto Rico and it accompanies Puerto Rico’s Caribbean Carnival season. February-March is a time for much celebrations there.
EPIPHANY – 3 KINGS DAY:
Puerto Rico celebrates almost all major holidays that are celebrated in the United States, but because Christianity in the main religion in Puerto Rico, specifically Roman Catholicism, Christian celebrations are most prominent. Epiphany, January 6th, is an important celebration there as it celebrates the Birth of Christ. The holiday symbolizes the 3 Kings from distant lands, who proclaimed the Christ Child was born to all the towns and villages that they passed through, as they followed the North Star to bring gifts to their King.
Maracas are a common instrument used in Puerto Rican music. We will make some out of Easter eggs and plastic spoons.
Puerto Rican Carnival Mask
Carnival is celebrated before the religious holiday of Lent in many Latin countries. Usually people take to the streets donning scary masks symbolizing a satirical contest between good and evil. We will make our own scary mask out of painted paper plates and construction paper.