Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican culture is a modality of Latin American culture, in which most of the ingredients (family organization, customs, religion, etc.), came from Europe through the conquest and colonization. Puerto Rico has been a country divided by two very strong trends: on one hand the Hispanic trend, that reminds it of its origin and, on the other, the Anglo-Saxon trend, reflected in the important presence of American English, which gives this Caribbean state a duality that is sometimes difficult to put up with. Among the original elements that shape its nature is the contribution of the Taino Indian in the cultivation of certain plants, in the preparation of national dishes, in the use of the calabash, the hammock, the tobacco, and particularly in the lexicon. Many indigenous words are known and are still alive as part of everyday speech. Also remarkable is the African contribution, mainly in the field of the religion, folklore and popular music. The Puerto Rican culture is the result of an acculturation process that has in time bequeathed those elements of Spanish, taino and African origin, which have been retained, modernized and passed on to the current generations, adjusted to the changing insular reality. The concept of the family and of its relationships is European, but the work, nutrition and amusement habits are Creole; they have consolidated in a special way because of the influence of the Antillean geopolitical and social conditions. Clear manifestations of the Puerto Rican cultural identity can be seen in each one of the artistic movements that have flourished with great effervescence in the last few years. We will find great representativeness in music, painting, sculpture, art schools, galleries, museums, literature; all of them show unequivocal examples of Creole knowledge and of the history of the island. The technological development that continuously arises in different parts of the world, has in Puerto Rico decisive effects in the constitution of the society and in the way of life of the new generations. From another perspective, it is necessary to observe the growing influence of the cultural patterns of the United States, something that occurs also on the whole American continent.The danza, king of Puerto Rican dancing music and the plena, of Afro-antillean origin, are two autochthonous musical genres of the island and where cultural diversity is perceived. As regards musical instruments, you can see the same thing; the güiro (scraper) whose raw material is a fruit, was inherited from the Taino Indians and the four-stringed guitar, an instrument derived from the Spanish guitar. Puerto Rico’s main traditional typical craft is the carving of saints (religious scenes carved in wood). The mundillo, an intricate lace work of Spanish origin, is crafted by artisans in the form of bands, necklaces, tablecloths and other designs. Masks, like the coconut ones worn on Loíza’s patron saint’s day celebrations and those of papier–maché, worn at the Ponce Carnival, are also very popular.