How do you celebrate the Holidays? What traditions do you follow? I like to do the same activities every year, such as family gatherings, traditional dishes, Christmas music, gift giving, Christmas tree, etc., but I also like to follow trends and to do things a little bit different than my parents. However, I do admire those people that are very traditional and not only do they do things the same way every year, they go back in time, in a way to honor previous generations and reminisce. My aunt is one of those traditional people, and she left me perplexed with all the nostalgic elements she added to this Puerto Rican Jibaro Holiday Party she did last year. Which by the way, she will be holding about four or five this year, because there are many Puerto Ricans in Central Florida and the word keeps spreading.
The Puerto Rican Jibaro life
My uncle built a replica of a Jibaro house right on their front yard. The Jibaro is the Puerto Rican countryside farm worker from early 19th century who defines the positive culture of Puerto Rico. His values, authenticity, resourcefulness and craftsmanship are the pride of the Puerto Rican people. He worked hard in the farm to provide for his family, while his wife stayed home to take care of the house and kids. In no way do I promote this lifestyle, I believe every couple chooses the lifestyle they want and that works for them. But all of these elements of history are endearing, and bring me lots of memories of my grandma and my childhood.
In addition, my aunt and uncle built an outhouse (latrine), the area to wash clothes, a fogon (outdoor kitchen), the clothes line, the pig pen and chicken coop. They recreated beautifully how living was for her generation back when they were kids. I loved that the kids and my generation were able to see how simple life was for them and help us appreciate what we have now even more. To learn more about the Jibaro life go here.
The Puerto Rican Jibaro house
The house is small, basically the size of a closet, but it has enough details inside for you to appreciate and reminisce. My aunt had been planning this for many years and has collected many antique pieces, including an antique iron, a coffee grinder, simple kitchen utensils, and a radio. I loved the hammock made of potato sack material, that’s how it was when she was young. The dolls are hers and were handmade by my grandma. The blanket is also hers from she was little girl. She also got a rocking chair similar to the one our grandma sat on every day in her front porch and sang to us. My grandma used to sing in church and had a beautiful strong voice. My aunt also included her own wedding dress, which is vintage now, since it’s from 1981. All these photos are her own and from when she was little. My grandma is the one on the far right and the one sitting on the bench.
The Puerto Rican Jibaro food
My aunt and uncle cooked delicious Puerto Rican food in “el fogon”, which comes out delicious. They made our favorites, rice with peas, pork, green bananas and pasteles. They set up a table with a set of dishes from that era, and a bowl set made of coconut shells filled traditional candy: marrayo, ajonjoli, gofio, Mary Janes, dulce de leche y pilones. Of course, the table to play dominoes was there as well. I love how I captured different generations playing dominoes.
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They did a second get-together and had live Jibaro Christmas music which was amazing! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of it. I have a feeling this is going to grow to a local attraction even bigger and better every year. They will probably keep adding to it and decorate it really cute for the Holidays. We had an awesome time dressing up and taking pictures and videos, and just spending time together and catching up with cousins we don’t see all year. In conclusion, this Puerto Rican Jibaro Holiday Party has become our family reunion tradition and I love it! It’s amazing how everything that is old has become a new tradition! So I ask you again, what traditions do you follow from your country, state or childhood during the Holidays? Share on the comments and Happy Holidays!