San Sebastián Festival (Sanse) Ends Puerto Rico’s Long, Fun Holiday Season

Original Source: San Sebastián Festival Ends Puerto Rico’s Long, Fun Holiday Season, NBC News

Do you ever wish the Christmas and holiday season lasted longer? Then start making your plans to visit Puerto Rico, where the Caribbean island  ends its official holiday season the third weekend of January.

Many Puerto Ricans and visitors lucky enough to be there took part in the iconic Fiestas de la Calle de San Sebastián, which ran from Jan. 19 to the 22nd. It’s an annual event centered around San Sebastián Street (Calle San Sebastián) in the Puerto Rican capital’s historic district, Old San Juan.

“The festival is a 4-day celebration that has become the traditional closing of the Christmas Season for many Puerto Ricans. The event embraces almost all aspects of Puerto Rico’s cultural heritage, including arts and crafts kiosks, cultural events, and live music. It is truly a fun-filled celebration for all participants.

Businesses stay open until midnight Thursday through Saturday. Due to Puerto Rico’s balmy tropical weather, the crowds are not as much inside the bars or restaurants but outside in the historic plazas and in front of bars, talking to friends and having drinks until the early hours of the morning.

Old San Juan is a popular destination for cruise ships, and those passengers fortunate enough to be among the 6 ships that docked in Old San Juan this past Sunday were able to walk from their ships to San Sebastián street.

With more than 1,100 weekly flights from the mainland US to Puerto Rico, the island is an accessible location for a weekend getaway or vacation making the San Sebastián fiestas an easy mid-January getaway from the U.S.

Cabezudos at Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

The evolution of the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

In the beginning, the Fiestas were a local, community event put on by volunteers. Over the years, the event became bigger and so did the number of attendees. San Sebastián, the name of the street where it takes place, is named after Saint Sebastian, one of the early saints in the Catholic church.

The modern version of the Fiestas started in the mid 1970s. Its inaugural event is the parade of the Cabezudos, (means big head) a group of people in disguise with oversized papier-mache heads representing various historic and folk characters who march down San Sebastián Street and down to the San Juan Cathedral.

During the day, the events are more family-oriented and include an arts and craft fair, live music, conferences, workshops and activities for kids and other similar activities. During the evening a young adult crowd is usually the norm. The party officially lasts until midnight and centers around live music and dancing, both traditional and contemporary, with many local artists playing on the different stages set around the Old City.”

Music is an important part of the Fiestas that continues to play an important role, giving audiences the chance to listen to different genres that have formed part of the Puerto Rican musical canon such as: salsa, traditional Christmas music, reggaeton, and plena.

** Sample Calendar 2015 ** Calendar of Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

To review the latest program of events, check the website of the Puerto Rico Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the Municipality of San Juan (Municipio Autónomo de San Juan) or its Department of Art, Culture and Innovation a week before the celebrations are held (around January the 15th).

Program of Artistic Events

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy music. In the 2015 edition, 50 performances by the best contemporary artists in Puerto Rico were held in 4 different places: Plaza Colón, Plaza V Centanario, La Barandilla and Plaza de Armas.

A sampling… what is your preference?

  • If you like salsa, check out the program of events for Plaza V Centenario and Plaza Colón. Some of the bands you will be able to watch are Pirulo y la Tribu, La Sonora Ponceña, NG2, Ismael Miranda, Willie Rosario, and La PVC.
  • If you like merengue, go to the same plazas. You will be able to watch  Grupomanía, Limi-T 21, Joseph Fonseca, Johnny Ventura
  • If you like Spanish rock and Spanish pop, stay around Plaza Colón, specially on Friday and Saturday.  Rock bands La Secta and Danny Fornaris will be there.  Grammy award winners Kanny García and Sie7e will also be performing.
  • If you like Afro Caribbean rhythms, go to Plaza V Centenario on Saturday to enjoy some plena by Rumba Plena, Plena Libre and Barreto y su Plena. Pleneros del Quinto Olivo will be at Plaza Barandilla on Thursday, and Los Pleneros de la 23 Abajo will be at Plaza Colón on Saturday. Two great bomba bands, Yubá-Ire and Tribu de Abrante will perform at La Barandilla on Thursday.
  • For some bohemian music, go to La Barandilla on Sunday to watch Trío Los Andinos, Los Hispanos, Roy Brown and Andrés Jiménez.
  • For electro music lovers, stay around Plaza de Armas the whole weekend. The best DJs in town will be playing there from Thursday through Sunday.

The 2015 Program

Plaza del V Centenario

Thursday the 15th

 9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Pirulo y la Tribu

Friday the 16th

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Conjunto Chaney
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Grupo Manía
9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Sonora Ponceña

Saturday the 17th

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Roberto Ortiz
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Comparsa (4) + Plenativa
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Rumba Plena
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Barreto y Su Plena
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Plena Libre
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Juan Manuel Lebrón
9:30 – 10:30 p.m. Limi-T 21
11:00 – 12:00 p.m. Ismael Miranda

Sunday the 18th

2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Encuentro de Trovadores
4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Tributo a Tony Croato
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Willie Rosario
8:30 – 10:00 p.m. Johnny Ventura

Plaza Colón

Thursday the 15th

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. José Nogueras
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Guaraisón
9:30 – 11:00 p.m. NG-2

Friday the 16th

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. La Quilombera
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Karis
8:30 – 9:30 p.m. La Secta
10:00 – 11:00 p.m. Kany García

Saturday the 17th

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Colectivo 787
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Diana Fuentes
6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Danny Fornaris
8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Millo Torres y el 3r Planeta
10:00 – 11:00 p.m. Sie7e

Sunday the 18th

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Fernandito Ferrer
3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Susa y Epifanio
4:45 – 6:00 p.m. Viento de Agua
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Orq. La PVC
8:30 – 10:00 p.m. Joseph Fonseca

La Barandilla

Thursday the 15th

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Yubá-Iré
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tribu de Abrante
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Pleneros del 5to Olivo
9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Juan Pablo Díaz

Friday the 16th

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Tuna Los Segreles
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Sully Díaz – La Lupe
8:30 – 9:30 p.m. La Criolla
10:00 – 11:00 p.m. El Topo

Saturday the 17th

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Los Pleneros de la 23 Abajo
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Almas Band – María
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Choco Orta
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Boricubasón
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Macabeo
9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Pedro Capó

Sunday the 18th

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Trío Los Andinos
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Los Hispanos
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Roy Brown
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Andrés Jiménez

Plaza de Armas

Thursday the 15th

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. DJ Scarface
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. DJ James
9:00 – 11:00 p.m. DJ Xtasy

Friday the 16th

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. DJ Porrata
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. King Arthur
10:00 – 11:00 p.m. Algarete

Saturday the 17th

2:00 – 5:00 p.m. DJ Iván Robles
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Nicky Boom Box
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. DJ Metro
9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Black Guayaba

Sunday the 18th

2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Carlos Fernández
5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Emil Cedeño
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. DJ Gulembo
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Sí Señor

Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian
Program of Activities

Sample Program of Cultural Events

In addition to the artistic events, there are many cultural activities sponsored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

Thursday, January 15th

10:00 AM – Taller Demostrativo y Conferencia Confección Casabe en Museo de La Farmacia del Siglo XIX, # 319 Calle Fortaleza, Viejo San Juan
01:00 PM – Apertura Mercado de Artesanías
05:00 PM – Apertura Exposición Sebastián al Desnudo de Néstor Carrillo
07:00 PM – Se otorgará el premio dedicatorio a Félix ‘Tito’ Trinidad en la Plaza del Quinto Centenario
08:30 PM – Estreno Mundial Obra Teatral Sebastián y los adoquines de Leo Cabranes-Grant Dirección: Josean Ortiz Actuaciones de: Jorge Alexander Ramos, Carmen Sanchez, Josean Ortiz, Carlos Laster, Irán Jean Pierre y Victor Gerardo Cruz
10:30 PM – Proyección Película Sebastian de Derek Jarman en el Corralón de San José

Friday, January 16th

01:00 PM – Mercado de Artesanías
04:00 PM – Exposición Sebastian al Desnudo
08:30 PM – Función Obra Teatral Sebastián y los adoquines Corralón de San José, Viejo San Juan

Sábado 17 y Domingo 18:

09:00 AM – Mercado de Artesanías
11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM y 5:00 PM Obra Teatral Infantil El Callejón de los Fantasmas con la actuación de: Moncho Conde
04:00 pm Exposición Sebastian al Desnudo
08:30 pm Función Obra Teatral Sebastián y los adoquines en el Corralón de San José, Viejo San Juan


More articles about Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

San Sebastián Festival (Sanse) Ends Puerto Rico’s Long, Fun Holiday Season

Sample Calendar of Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

Children also have their own place during the San Sebastian celebrations

¿Quiénes son los cabezudos de la Calle San Sebastián?

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