Juan Bobo

Juan Bobo is the Puerto Rican folktale character, sort of like Paul Bunyan is to Americans. Bobo is a jibaro or Puerto Rican farmer from the mountains. Jibaros are both the essence and fantasy of historic Puerto Rico in much the same way that cowboys are to the United States.

Bobo may appear to be dim-witted, but he is actually quite clever. He provides a context for understanding the man of La Mancha, Don Quixote.

Both characters make us laugh with silly antics, but in the manner of Aesop’s Fables, they actually offer folk wisdom to those who are paying attention.

Vestido como la puerca de Juan Bobo

As a New Yorker in Puerto Rico (or a gringo in the Latin world) I occasionally realize that estoy vestido como la puerca de Juan Bobo (I am dressed like the pig of Juan Bobo).

In other words, my manner is sometimes inappropriate for the situation. In Puerto Rico, the New Yorker is humbled by the Jibaro (simple farmer).

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