Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián (San Sebastían Street Festival) is the street fair in beautiful Old San Juan that ends the Christmas season.
It’s Puerto Rico’s most popular festival. Locals call it the SanSe. [It’s a little joke. Sanse is Puerto Rican slang for a West African faith based on forces of nature that is popular in the Caribbean. Trust me. It’s all good.]
Calle San Sebastían is a beautiful colonial street of bars and restaurants. The festival also includes a street fair of Puerto Rican artisans. The party spills over into La Perla, the beloved shanty town along the ocean just beyond the city’s walls.
La Factoría, one of the world’s 50 best bars for 2019 is on Calle San Sebastían. It is one of the best places to dance salsa in San Juan.
Puerto Ricans come to the SanSe from all over the island and across the diaspora. It’s the time to be home. If the walls of the city could talk, there would be many wonderful stories to tell. It’s probably a good thing that walls don’t talk. 🥳🥳
Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían 2022
Friday-Monday, January 14-17, 2022 ~ We’ll be back and if everyone is good (mask, distance, wash…) we’ll have the mother of all SanSe festivals.
Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían 2021
Friday-Monday, January 15-18, 2021 ~ It’s cancelled this year to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Puerto Ricans are celebrating from home.
The diaspora in Fort Worth, Texas is hosting a virtual SanSe on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at sansefest.com
Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían 2020
The Puerto Rican diaspora cried so much about the earthquakes in the southwest corner of the island, that even though the SanSe went on, the tourists didn’t come. The earthquakes only impacted parts of three or four counties in the southeast. There was no danger in San Juan, but the diaspora crying made tourists cancel their travel and hotel bookings. They didn’t spend any money in Puerto Rico.
The financial loss to all Puerto Ricans on the island was significant. It was a shame because many artisans rely on their sales from the SanSe to make it through the entire year. With good intentions, the diaspora killed it.
Please talk up the island, but don’t talk it down. You hurt us for no good reason.
Puerto Rico Has the World’s Longest Christmas Season
The season continues with Las Octavitas, the octave of Three Kings. Octaves are a remnant of colonial Catholicism which celebrated festivals for eight days, not just one. Celebrating las Octavitas remains part of Puerto Rican identity.
Las Octavitas gets us to the SanSe. ¡WEPA!
Then we all go back to work, counting the days until next November.