Las Fiestas de Cruz 2023
Los Pleneros de la 21 celebrate their 38th Las Fiestas de Cruz 2023, Puerto Rican style, with chanted rosaries, bomba, and plena, drumming, singing, and dancing. It’s at Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center in “El Barrio” East Harlem, Manhattan; on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 7pm. Suggested donation $5. losplenerosdela21.org 🇵🇷
Las Fiestas de Cruz
Las Fiestas de Cruz is an old Puerto Rican tradition of chanting rosaries that we inherited from the Spanish Colonial Era.
We don’t do it quite the way Spaniards would because we’re Puerto Rican, and its not so religious anymore. It’s a community gathering. This is really a Taíno areíto (Indigenous Puerto Rican community gathering) with everything that goes with that. The tribe lives on in the community.
Puerto Rico sits on the boundary of the Caribbean and North American tectonic plates. A great earthquake struck the northern side of the island on May 3, 1787. It is believed to have been the biggest earthquake in Puerto Rico’s recorded history.
Churches, the community centers of the day, were damaged across the north and west coasts in Arecibo, Bayamón, Toa Baja and Mayagüez (where bomba originated). The people found pieces of crosses from the broken churches and in Latin religious tradition, began to pray rosaries.
Today, there are usually 19 traditional songs which are sung in African call and response.
On the island, there are usually Las Fiestas de Cruz celebrations on Calle Tanca in Old San Juan (above the stairway to La Perla) and in Villa Palmeras, Santurce’s immigrant neighborhood (The Bronx of Santurce).
Puerto Rican culture lives forever. 🇵🇷