Tag Archives: Puerto Rican culture

Eugenio Maria de Hostos: A Puerto Rican Legend

The Life and Legacy of Eugenio María de Hostos


Written by Kerri Applegate


Eugenio M. de Hostos

Eugenio María de Hostos was born on January 11, 1839 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, but for someone from modest beginnings, he lived an extraordinary life. He went on to gain a multitude of titles, traveled to other countries to fight for social injustice, became known for his writing and philosophy, and championed the independence of Puerto Rico and Cuba. He was known for his charismatic and staunch devotion toward humanitarian causes. To tell a small portion of Hostos’s story is to go many places; let’s begin!

Hostos received his childhood education in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but by the age of 13 he was sent to Spain to finish high school, which he followed up with a bachelor’s degree at the University of Bilbao and a law degree at Madrid Central University. During this time period he wrote arguments against autonomic reform and the abolition of slavery, and was a member of a group called Spanish Republicans. Hostos wanted to see Puerto Rico and Cuba gain independence from Spain. When Spain refused to grant independence, Hostos left for the United States, joined the Cuban Revolution Committee, and became editor of a journal called “La Revolución” in New York City.  After two years, he left New York for South America where he advocated across the board for education and humanitarian causes. A few of Hostos’s accomplishments included:

  • fighting against the exploits of Chinese workers in Peru.
  • being the first individual in Chile to fight for women to be admitted into educational institutions. Hostos was known for his support of women’s rights throughout his life.
  • helping to establish the Trans-Andean Railroad in Argentina.
  • working on educational reform in Chile and Dominican Republic.
  • championing the independence of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Dominican Republic and wanting to create an Antillean Confederation.

    Hostos with the Puerto Rican flag

Hostos returned to New York to support the Puerto Rico and Cuban independence movements. After the Spanish-American War there was hope for independence, but Hostos was met with disappointment when the movement didn’t gain enough support in Puerto Rico and the island became a United States Territory. Nevertheless, Hostos continued to support humanitarian causes and went to the Dominican Republic where he worked to further improve education and railway systems. In 1903 Hostos died in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and his remains, per his request, will remain there until Puerto Rico becomes independent.

Being a true writer, he even wrote his own epitaph:

“I wish that they will say: In that island (Puerto Rico) a man was born who loved truth, desired justice, and worked for the good of men.”



For further cultural insights useful throughout your transition to Puerto Rico, visit http://global-perceptions.com/. Global Perceptions, your relocation specialist in Puerto Rico, works closely with you, your family, and your company to assure that your relocation goes as smoothly as possible.

Three Kings Day Across Latin America

By Kerri Applegate & Julie Parenteau


It’s a new year and the holidays are behind us, right? Not so fast! On January 6th Catholics around the world celebrate the last of the 12 days of Christmas, called Three Kings Day (or Epiphany). Religious tradition talks of how the three wise men traveled from afar (Africa, Europe, Arabia to be exact) bringing gifts for the new born king, Jesus. Such a long trip was certainly worthy of a celebration upon arrival! Never wanting to miss a party, Latin Americans recognize this holiday, but how they do so differs from one country to another.

The Three Kings


In Mexico, for example, Epiphany is celebrated with parades, parties and a delicious cake called Rosca De Reyes. A small doll of baby Jesus is hidden inside this cake to represent how he needed to be protected and hidden. The person that finds the hidden savior has the honor of preparing tamales for another holiday called Fiesta de la Candelaria on February 2nd. She or he becomes the “godmother/godfather” for the year.



Peruvians in Lima, a city that was founded on January 6th, offer gifts to a live infant who is spread on a blanket in the Andean market. Men dress in traditional clothing and bring small tokens to the baby. A couple representing Mary and Joseph also stand nearby. Like in Mexico, people in Peru cook Kings Cake and hide a plastic doll inside. Whoever finds the baby is said to have luck all year. That person is also responsible for bringing the cake the following year!


For Puerto Ricans, the three kings arrive on camel during the night. Children leave small boxes with fresh grass in them (to feed the camels!) under their beds with the hope that the kings will leave gifts behind. On the morning of January 6th, children awake to open gifts. Families attend church and local parades where children can see the kings walking by. People celebrate by eating and drinking holiday favorites like lechon (roasted pork), arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and coquito (a rum-laced egg nog). Traditionally this day was more popular than Christmas, but close ties to the U.S. have made Christmas almost as popular.


Of course these are not the only ways to celebrate this day, but perhaps seeing these makes you interested in what other holidays are celebrated in Puerto Rico and beyond. Stay tuned as we will post more cultural insights throughout the year!


For more information on the culture and life of Puerto Rico, or for assistance relocating to Puerto Rico, visit http://global-perceptions.com/. We are your relocation authority in Puerto Rico.

Finding home away from home in Puerto Rico

By Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D.


As another Super Bowl fast approaches, I am reminded of one of the main reasons that I continue to live in San Juan. I am a huge Green Bay Packers fan, as many people from Wisconsin are. I grew up watching the games with my dad. He taught me the basics, sharing stories of Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke along the way. Today I uphold the game-watching tradition in a different way. Now I have the unique opportunity to share my culture with the Puerto Rican community every Sunday from September through the first week of February. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always that way.

When I first moved here, I was clueless as to how I was going to watch the Packer games. Knowing that I was too big a fan to miss the games, I had to find a place to watch and soon. I went to the only local bar that I had ever been to and pulled up a stool only to find that I was the lone Packer fan in the place. My rants and cheers more than made up for that. People gave me weird looks, but I didn’t care. I was there to support my team. The season ended as it started for me, alone in the corner.

The following year I put on my gear and headed out, anticipating another lonely year in the corner. Much to my surprise, the bar was jam-packed when I arrived on the first Sunday of the season. People of all different teams filled the area, except for Green Bay. I found a TV with the Packers game on and decided that I would just have to suffice with that. At least I could see it, although I couldn’t hear a thing. Feeling let down, I looked around for a chair. In that move my life changed forever. I turned around and saw a couple walk through the door dressed from head to toe in green and gold. It was as if heaven’s gates had opened and Saint Vince had reached down to bless me! I walked over to them and asked if I could sit with them. They agreed and led me through the bar to a section that I didn’t even know existed. It was there that I first laid eyes upon what was to become the Puerto Rico Packer Nation. A sea of green and gold jerseys and caps was before me. I instantly felt at home.

Since that time, the Puerto Rico Packer Nation has grown to a much larger group who gets together to watch the games every week. We provide t-shirts, hats, and beads for those attendees who aren’t sporting green and gold. That gesture has helped the group become a family.

Today, we are all each other’s brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. We count on one another when things are bad and relish in the happiness of the good times. We are a shining IMG_0138example of what it means to be affiliated with the Green Bay Packers organization. No matter the distance, we are fans to the end.

Although we won’t be watching our team play in the Super Bowl this year, we will all join together to cheer on our extended family members whose teams are fighting it out for they, too, are our brothers and sisters. We are a football family.



This reflection is dedicated to the members of the Puerto Rico Packer Nation, the Packers friends that I have met over the years, and my parents who provide the supplies for our local family. Go Pack!


“Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at SmallPlanetStudio.com – See more at: http://www.smallplanetstudio.com/2014/01/31/link-up-jan/#sthash.8BseqTQV.dpuf

Puerto Rico Events 2013: Mark your calendars!

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that 2013 is already here! As we bring in the new year, I’d like to call your attention to some of the upcoming events taking place in Puerto Rico this year. Make plans to attend one or all! These events are sure to please!


Festival de  la Calle de San Sebastian

This street festival takes place in Old San Juan and marks the official end of the Christmas holiday season. During the day attendees visit the booths of artisans selling their crafts while vejigantes wander the streets in their brightly colored costumes and masks. At night the area comes alive with bands of all kinds. Dancing

and partying until the morning hours can be expected. This is a very popular festival, which means that getting into the area can be difficult. Taking public transportation from one of the designated park and ride areas is advised.


Every year the city of Ponce shines with the celebration of Carnaval. This week-long celebration begins February 6th and lasts until the 12th, welcoming the season of Lent. Although other towns also have celebrations, Ponce’s festival is said to be the most authentic display of Puerto Rican culture. Vejigantes walk through the town on stilts to the tunes of bomba and plena music. Their costumes include papier mache horned-masks and cow bladders that they use as noisemakers. Kids and adults will enjoy the enthusiasm of this cultural experience!


World Baseball Classic

It’s back for the first time in five years! The World Baseball Classic Tournament will kick off with a series of games here in San Juan. Games are slated for March 7th-10th at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium near Plaza Las Americas. Competitors include: the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Spain, and hometown favorite, Puerto Rico. Many major leaguers come out to play for their respective home countries so this is a great chance to see top players in a local venue. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketpop centers or on their website.

International Salsa Congress

If your new year’s resolutions include getting in shape, this would be a great time to start taking salsa lessons. By the time the International Salsa Congress comes at the end of July, you’ll be a professional! This event brings together salsa dancers of all ages from around the world to participate in competitions and generally enjoy dancing salsa. The San Juan Hotel and Casino will play host again this year from July 23rd-27th. Even if you would prefer watching to dancing, come on out! You’ll meet people from around the world and witness amazing acts while hearing some of the top salsa bands.

Many more events also take place throughout the island during the year. These include the Puerto Rico Open Golf Tournament, the Heineken Jazz Fest, and the many local patron saints festivals. Check back to see dates for these and other events as details are confirmed.


This information is brought to you by Global Perceptions, your relocation specialist in Puerto Rico. Read more of our articles at www.relocationspecialistpuertorico.com. For more information about our services, visit www.globalperceptions.net or call 787.455.7764.

Should I move to Puerto Rico?

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Are you considering relocating to Puerto Rico? Not sure if it’s the place for you? Global Perceptions, your relocation specialist in Puerto Rico, has some ideas for you. Whether you want to retire,study, start over, or are on assignment from a major corporation, Puerto Rico has something to offer everyone. Here are a few reasons to answer the question of “Should I move to Puerto Rico” with a resounding, “YES!

The weather

Located in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico’s climate is warm year-round. Temperatures usually range from 80 to 95 degrees depending on the time of year and municipality. The humidity serves as a warm blanket the second you exit the airport, enveloping you in the culture and customs of this magnificent island. If you are tired of shoveling snow or have an illness aggravated by the cold, Puerto Rico is a good option for you.

The scenery                                                         

Puerto Rico offers a tremendous variety of beautiful sights. Whether beaches or mountains, rain forests or deserts, golf courses or coffee plantations are your choice, the Isla del Encanto has it all. Amazing beaches line the coasts, attracting surfers, sailors, and tourists to their crystal blue waters. World-class resorts and golf courses cater to celebrities and locals alike. Come and see the sights for yourself!

The food

All across the island you can find incredible local delicacies, as well as restaurants that serve dishes representing the palates of the world. Although rice and beans are staples, they can be prepared in many ways and accompany everything from churrasco to pork and chicken to seafood. Side dishes made of plantain or yuca like mofongo, tostones, or arañitas are also popular. Thick soups and scrumptious desserts are sure to please everyone so go ahead and try them!

The activities

It’s hard to be bored in Puerto Rico with the host of activities available across the island. Outdoor activities include: hiking, horseback riding, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, golfing, hanging out on the beach, attending outdoor concerts, strolling through Old San Juan, visiting places like Piñones or Guavate, flying kites near El Morro, and much more. If you prefer being indoors, visit one of the many museums, go to a play or concert, wander through one of the shopping centers, catch a movie, gather friends for a game of dominos, watch a boxing match, go salsa dancing, or try cooking local foods. There’s always something to do no matter your age!

The people

Puerto Ricans are a truly unique group of people full of contradictions and intense passion for their families and their country. They are generally humble people who welcome the opportunity to share their culture with foreigners. If you are open to listening and learning from them, you will be welcomed by them and thought of as part of their family. Work on speaking Spanish like them, and you will be welcomed even more!

The culture

Influenced by Spanish, North American, African, and native Taíno customs, Puerto Rico has developed a unique culture. Today the culture is a mixture of all of these people and their customs. Politics is sport, boxers and Miss Universe competitors are celebrated like gods, and the flag reigns over all. Puerto Ricans are incredibly proud of their culture and work hard to keep it alive all over the world. They await the chance to share that pride with you!

From the small coastal towns to the metropolis of San Juan, you can smell lechon cooking on the spit, see the beautiful flamboyanes in bloom, hear the waves of the ocean crashing, taste the rich flavors of sofrito, and receive kisses from everyone you meet. Puerto Rico truly provides something to please all your senses whether you are 5, 25, or 65. If you are considering moving to Puerto Rico, we hope you that this article helps you see how much the Isla del Encanto offers.


For more information on relocating to Puerto Rico, please visit your Puerto Rico Relocation Specialist at www.globalperceptions.net or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Relocation.Specialist.PuertoRico.