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                S O C . C U L T U R E . P U E R T O - R I C O

                              Introduction and
                          Frequently Asked Questions

                                June 6, 1996
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   Welcome to soc.culture.puerto-rico!   This article contains information
   about this group,  about Puerto Rico and about visiting Puerto Rico.  I 
   hope that the information provided is useful to you and that you decide
   to  participate  in the group  and  contribute  with  your  ideas.  

!  In this issue I have corrected the information about "Where to stay in
!  Puerto Rico?"  that was  missing from  previous postings.   Also,  the
!  section on "Where can I get information about Puerto Rico in the Web?"
!  is constantly updated.

   New area code for Puerto Rico:  Effective March 1, 1996,  the area code
   for Puerto Rico is 787.    The old area code  (809)   can still be used
   until the end of the year.

   This posting is in Usenet digest format.   If your news reader supports
   the  digest  format,  press  Ctrl-G (^G)  to go  to the  next question.  
   Otherwise, search for the next line with  "Subject:"  at the beginning.  
   Changes to this file are now  marked  with an  exclamation mark  (!) at 
   the  beginning of the line.

   You can read a hypertext version of this document in the World Wide Web
   at< http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/puerto-rico-FAQ/
   faq.html >  or  retrieve  the  most   recently   posted   version  from
   < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/puerto-rico-FAQ >.

   The information is correct to the best of my knowledge.  If you find an 
   error, let me know the correction.  Contributions from other people are 
   also included and I have tried to give proper credit to the authors. If 
   you have any comments and wish them to be included,  send me a message.
   Also,  if you  want  to  change any of the comments you  have provided, 
   let  me  know  and  I will make the  changes accordingly.

   You can copy and redistribute this file  in  whole or in parts only for
   personal  and/or  non-commercial purposes  as long as  you give  proper
   credit to the sources  including information on contributors at the end
   of each section and the following information:
     Document: SOC.CULTURE.PUERTO-RICO: Introduction and FAQ
     Distribution Date: June 6, 1996
     Maintainer: Zeydy Ortiz Laureano 
     Archive: < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/puerto-rico-FAQ >

   If you have any ideas,  suggestions or comments  on how to improve this 
   file (or just want to say hello),  please, send me a message.  Also, if
   you find any  information  on the  Internet that may be  included here, 
   let me know.

   Zeydy Ortiz Laureano
   

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Subject: TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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	SOC.CULTURE.PUERTO-RICO
	-> Charter
	   - Topics of discussion
	   - Posting Policy
	   - Language
	   - BORIKEN
	-> What is BORIKEN?
	-> Reminders
	-> Summary of things to remember
	-> I do not understand Spanish.  Why don't you write in English?!?
	-> I am trying to practice Spanish.  Will I get flamed if I write
	   to this newsgroup in my poor Spanish?
	-> Can't you write proper Spanish?!?!
	-> Why don't you use diacritical marks (accent marks,
	   tildes, dieresis) in soc.culture.puerto-rico?
	-> How do I create a kill file?

	PUERTO RICO
	-> Patron Saint Festivals
        -> Christmas Celebrations
	-> National Symbols
        -> Where can I get information about Puerto Rico in the Web?
        -> Where can I get image files of Puerto Rico?
        -> Who is providing Internet services in Puerto Rico?

	TRAVEL INFORMATION
	-> Do I need a passport?
        -> What places should we visit in Puerto Rico?
 	   - San Juan Metropolitan Area
             + Old San Juan
             + Metropolitan San Juan
           - Northeast and Offshore Islands
 	   - South Coast
 	   - West Coast
 	   - Northwest
  	   - Mountains
	-> Where to stay in Puerto Rico?
	   - San Juan Metropolitan Area
	   - Northeast and Offshore Islands
	   - South Coast
	   - West Coast
	   - Northwest
	   - Mountains
	-> What are Paradores Puertorrique~nos?
	-> Where can I get more tourist information?

        UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
        -> Other festivities
        -> What to do with an annoying person?


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Subject: SOC.CULTURE.PUERTO-RICO

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   Soc.culture.puerto-rico  was  proposed  for  creation  in  the  BORIKEN 
   mailing list  some time  in  January of 1994  by  Mauricio A. Hernandez   
   .   After  the initial period  of  discussion  
   and the voting (YES: 355, NO:23) the group was created in April 6, 1994.

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Subject: Charter

   Name:           soc.culture.puerto-rico
   Status:         unmoderated
   Description:    Puerto Rico's culture, politics, and society

 - Topics of discussion:
   Soc.culture.puerto-rico will be a  newsgroup dedicated  solely  to  the 
   discussion  of  issues  related  to the  life,  culture,  and  politics 
   affecting the nearly  5 million Puerto Ricans  living in the island, in
   the mainland USA, and around the world.

 - Posting Policy:
   Soc.culture.puerto-rico  will be  unmoderated.  Contributors  must  use 
   their own judgement  to decide  the relevance of their articles  to the
   topics discussed in soc.culture.puerto-rico.  Discussions that are only 
   relevant to a very few individuals should be moved to e-mail.
    
 - Language:
   Spanish is Puerto Rico's  principal  language.  Thus  we expect Spanish 
   to be the  dominant language in the  newsgroup.  Nevertheless,  a large 
   part of Puerto Ricans who have access to USENET know and use English as
   a second language.  Therefore,  articles written in English  will be as 
   welcomed as those written in Spanish.

 - BORIKEN:
   Soc.culture.puerto-rico  will not  be initially  gatewayed  to the list 
   server BORIKEN  (BORIKEN@ENLACE.BITNET).  However, the possibility of a 
   link will remain open and  will be decided later by  the members of the 
   BORIKEN list server.

   Contributions: Mauricio A. Hernandez 

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Subject: What is BORIKEN?

   BORIKEN is a mailing list administered by the University of Puerto Rico
   to exchange information about  the society and  culture of Puerto Rico. 
   If  you  want to  participate in  the discussion,  send  a  message  to 
   LISTSERV@ENLACE.BITNET   with the message:  SUB BORIKEN Name Last Name. 
   You can leave blank the  Subject line.  Messages to the group should be 
   sent to BORIKEN@ENLACE.BITNET.

   If you are having problems trying to subscribe to BORIKEN, try sending
   your subscription message to LISTSERV%ENLACE.BITNET@uga.cc.uga.edu and
   messages to the group to BORIKEN%ENLACE.BITNET@uga.cc.uga.edu.

   Some  readers of  soc.culture.puerto-rico  are or were  in the  BORIKEN 
   mailing list.

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Subject: Reminders

   Due  to  differences in the experiences in the  life  of every  person,
   disagreement  and  misunderstanding  are very likely to occur.   We can
   learn  from each other and  broaden our knowledge if  the arguments are 
   kept in focus and not as personal attacks. 

   Before posting to  soc.culture.puerto-rico,  please read the  newsgroup
   news.announce.newusers  to  understand  the   Usenet   community.   The 
   following documents describe what is expected to be the proper behavior
   in newsgroups.  

   * Rules for Posting to Usenet 
   by Mark Horton  
   < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/posting-rules/part1 >
   * A Primer on How to Work with the Usenet Community 
   by Chuq Von Rospach 
   < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/primer/part1 >
   * Hints on Writing Style for Usenet 
   by A. Jeff Offutt VI 
   < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/writing-style/part1 >

   If you like sarcasm, also read:
   * Emily Postnews Answers Your Question on Netiquette 
   by Brad Templeton 
   < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/emily-postnews/part1 >

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Subject: Summary of Things to Remember 

       Never forget that the person on the other side is human.
       Don't blame system admins for their users' behavior.
       Never assume that a person is speaking for their organization.
       Be careful what you say about others.
       Be brief.
       Your postings reflect upon you; be proud of them.
       Use descriptive titles.
       Think about your audience.
       Be careful with humor and sarcasm.
       Only post a message once.
       Please rotate material with questionable content.
       Summarize what you are following up.
       Use mail, don't post a follow-up.
       Read all follow-ups and don't repeat what has already been said.
       Double-check follow-up newsgroups and distributions.
       Be careful about copyrights and licenses.
       Cite appropriate references.
       When summarizing, summarize.
       Mark or rotate answers or spoilers.
       Spelling flames considered harmful.
       Don't overdo signatures.
       Limit line length and avoid control characters.
       Please do not use Usenet as a resource for homework assignments.

   From: "A Primer on How to Work with the Usenet Community"
   by Chuq Von Rospach 
   < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/primer/part1 >

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Subject: I do not understand Spanish.  Why don't you write in English?!?

   For most of us, Spanish is our native language. We are more comfortable
   communicating  with each other in the language that is most natural for
   us.  I am sorry that you may not understand our postings.   However, if
   you have a question feel free to  post in  English.   It is very likely
   that you will get a kind response in English.

   Read  the  section  on  "Language"  in  the  charter  for more details
   (see "Charter").

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Subject:  I am trying to practice Spanish.  Will I get flamed if I write
	  to this newsgroup in my poor Spanish?

   I have noticed that  some people  that claim to speak Spanish as  their 
   first language  do not write  Spanish correctly  in this  newsgroup for 
   different  reasons  (see also "Can't you write Spanish correctly?!?!").  
   So, I don't think you  will get  flamed for  your writing.  Most people 
   appreciate your efforts in  learning our language  and will  try to get
   the idea  of what you are  trying  to say.  However,  if you  feel that
   your  message may  not be  understood,  include the  English version in
   your post.

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Subject: Can't you write Spanish correctly?!?!

   Yes  we  can, thank-you-very-much.  However,  spelling flames  are  not
   appreciated  in  Usenet  groups and  soc.culture.puerto-rico  is not an 
   exception.  Please consider the following facts: 
	- Not all the participants  in this group have the time to correct 
	  every single word we type.  
	- Spanish automatic spelling checkers are not widely available.  
	- There exists a  great number of Puerto Ricans  who lived most of 
	  their lives in the  mainland USA  and  whose  first language  is
          English.  
	- For some, this newsgroup is one of the few places where they can 
	  practice writing in Spanish.  Trying to embarrass people because
          of  their  spelling  tend  to  inhibit  them,  as well as others 
	  reading in the sidelines, from participating in the group.

   Please,  do not  embarrass  yourself by trying to embarras  others with 
   spelling flames.   But  if you  must become  a  speaker  for the  "Real 
   Academia de la Lengua Espa~nola", please do so by e-mail.

   Contributions: Mauricio A. Hernandez 

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Subject: Why don't you use diacritical marks (accent marks, tildes, dieresis) 
in soc.culture.puerto-rico?

   Not all terminal support the  Extended Character Set  needed to display
   the special characters (e.g., vowels with accent marks). Some terminals 
   will simply not display the character or replace it with another making 
   your message very difficult to  understand.  For example,  if I were to  
   write "Hernandez" using an 'a' with an accent mark, some terminals might
   show  this  as  "Hernndez"  or as  "Hern@ndez".  To  work  around  this 
   situation, some people have adopted the following strategies:

 - Accent marks:* Place the mark after the letter (Mari'a, Jose').
		* Use upper case (MarIa and JosE).
		* Don't use an accent mark.

 - Tildes:  	* Place a tilde (~) before or after the n (puertorrique~nos).
		* Place a circumflex (^) before the n (puertorrique^nos).
		* Use "ny" instead (puertorriquenyos).
		* Use "nn" instead (puertorriquennos).
		* Use "nh" instead (puertorriquenhos).
		* Use upper case n (puertorriqueNos).
		* Don't use a tilde (usually not recommended)

 - Dieresis:	* Place a colon after the letter (Mayagu:ez).
		* Place a double quote after the letter (Mayagu"ez).
		* Don't use a dieresis.

   Your  posting  will be more readable if you use characters  that can be
   displayed  at  every  terminal  type.  If  you can  see the  characters
   correctly in your terminal, it does not mean that everyone will be able 
   to see them as well.  Those who wish to read  an article  that includes 
   special characters,  refer to the document by Jorge Donato available at 
   < ftp://vision.ee.tulane.edu/pub/donato/spa.html >.  Also,  a filter to
   to eliminate the special characters (for Unix systems)  can be found at 
   < ftp://vision.ee.tulane.edu/pub/donato/ascfil >.

   Contributions: Mauricio A. Hernandez  and
   Jorge Donato

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Subject: How do I create a kill file?

   Some news readers support the  creation of a file, called "kill file",
   to limit the articles that are accessed.  The main purpose of the file
   is  to mark  as read  some articles  based on  some  pattern.  You can  
   eliminate all messages from a particular subject or a given person.

   The following information is specific to the  rn/trn  news reader.  [If 
   you have information  for other  news readers,  send me a note with the 
   instructions. ]

   Pressing a  'k'  when reading  an article  you can  mark  as  read  all
   articles with the  same subject as the current one.   Pressing 'K' will 
   do the same but will also  add a line  to the local kill file such that 
   the every time  you read the group,  articles with the same subject are 
   marked as read.  

   You can edit directly your kill file using control-K (^K).  You can add 
   a line such as:
	/unwanted subject/:j
   to eliminate all articles that contain the string 'unwanted subject' in
   the Subject: line.  

   To discard articles from a particular person, add
        /^From:.*e-mail address/h:j
   to  the kill file  where  'e-mail address' is the login name  and  the
   complete site where the person is posting messages.  You will  need to
   add a backslash ('\') before each dot in the site address.

   For more information, read the  "rn killfile FAQ" in  news.answers  or
   < ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/killfile-faq >   and   the 
   manual pages for your news reader.

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Subject: PUERTO RICO

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   Puerto Rico  is a  Caribbean Island  located  about  a  thousand  miles 
   southeast of Miami  between the Dominican Republic and the U. S. Virgin
   Islands.   It is roughly  100 by 35  miles with a  population of  about 
   3.8 million people.  Puerto Rico is a territory  of  the  United States
   of America  and  we  have  common  citizenship,  currency  and defense.
   Although  Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens,  residents of Puerto Rico do
   not pay  federal  income tax (but neither can they vote in presidential
   elections).  Over 2 million  Puerto Ricans  live in the  United States, 
   primarily in the northeast.

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Subject: Patron Saint Festivals

   Every  year,  each  town  celebrates  patron  saint  festivals (fiestas 
   patronales)  in  honor  of  the area's  patron saint.   The festivities
   include religious processions since  they were originated as a Catholic
   tradition.  However, they  have  adopted  other elements of African and 
   local origin.  They also include games, regional food, music and dance.

   Following  is a  list,  ordered by  date,  of  the  festivals  that are
   celebrated in each town.  The festivities last ten days,  including the 
   date listed, and activities are  held evenings on  weekdays and all day 
   on weekends.

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOWN		PATRON SAINT		        DATE
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Aguas Buenas		Los Santos Reyes  		Jan. 6 
   Corozal		La Sagrada Familia		Jan. 9 
   A~nasco		San Antonio Abad		Jan. 17 
   San Sebastia'n	San Sebastia'n (of course)	Jan. 20 
   Lajas		La Virgen de la Candelaria	Feb. 2 
   Manati'		La Virgen de la Candelaria	Feb. 2 
   Mayagu:ez		La Virgen de la Candelaria	Feb. 2 
   Coamo		La Virgen de la Candelaria	Feb. 2 
   Coamo		San Blas			Feb. 3 
   Loi'za Aldea		San Patricio			Mar. 17 
   Ciales		San Jose'			Mar. 19
   Gurabo		San Jose'			Mar. 19
   Luquillo		San Jose'			Mar. 19
   Pe~nuelas		San Jose'			Mar. 19
   Lares		San Jose'			Mar. 19
   Patillas		San Benito			Mar. 31 
   Guaynabo		San Pedro Ma'rtir		Apr. 29 
   Arecibo		Apo'stol San Felipe		May 1 
   Bayamo'n		La Santa Cruz			May 3 
   Trujillo Alto	La Santa Cruz			May 3 
   Maunabo		San Isidro			May 15
   Sabana Grande	San Isidro Labrador		May 15 
   Carolina		San Fernando			May 30 
   Toa Alta		San Fernando			May 30
   Barranquitas		San Antonio de Padua		June 13 
   Ceiba		San Antonio de Padua		June 13 
   Dorado		San Antonio de Padua		June 13 
   Guayama		San Antonio de Padua		June 13 
   Isabela		San Antonio de Padua		June 13 
   Maricao		San Juan Bautista		June 24 
   Orocovis		San Juan Bautista		June 24 
   San Juan		San Juan Bautista		June 24 
   Toa Baja		San Pedro Apo'stol		June 30 
   Arroyo		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Barceloneta		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Cata~no		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Cidra		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Culebra		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Hatillo		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Morovis		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Ri'o Grande		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Villalba		Virgen del Carmen		July 16 
   Aibonito		Santiago Apo'stol		July 25 
   Fajardo		Santiago Apo'stol		July 25 
   Gua'nica		Santiago Apo'stol		July 25 
   Loiza Aldea  	Santiago Apo'stol		July 25 
   Santa Isabel		Santiago Apo'stol		July 25 
   San Germa'n		San Germa'n (of course)		July 31 
   Comerio		El Santo Cristo de la Salud	Aug. 6 
   San Lorenzo		San Lorenzo (of course)		Aug. 10 
   Cayey		Ntra. Sra. de la Asuncio'n	Aug. 15 
   Adjuntas		San Joaqui'n & Santa Ana	Aug. 21 
   Rinco'n		Santa Rosa de Lima		Aug. 30 
   Juana Diaz		San Ramo'n Nonato		Aug. 31 
   Hormigueros		Ntra. Sra. de la Monserrate	Sept. 8 
   Jayuya		Ntra. Sra. de la Monserrate	Sept. 8 
   Moca			Ntra. Sra. de la Monserrate	Sept. 8 
   Salinas		Ntra. Sra. de la Monserrate	Sept. 8 
   Cabo Rojo		San Miguel Arca'ngel		Sept. 29 
   Naranjito		San Miguel Arca'ngel		Sept. 29 
   Utuado		San Miguel Arca'ngel		Sept. 29 
   Yabucoa		Los Angeles Custodios		Oct. 2 
   Aguada		San Francisco de Asi's		Oct. 4 
   Naguabo		Ntra. Sra. del Rosario		Oct. 7 
   Vega Baja		Ntra. Sra. del Rosario		Oct. 7 
   Yauco		Ntra. Sra. del Rosario		Oct. 7 
   Cano'vanas		La Virgen del Pilar		Oct. 12 
   Ri'o Piedras		La Virgen del Pilar		Oct. 12
   Quebradillas		San Rafael Arca'ngel		Oct. 24 
   Aguadilla		San Carlos Borromeo		Nov. 4 
   Guayanilla		La Inmaculada Concepcio'n	Dec. 8
			de Mari'a
   Humacao		La Inmaculada Concepcio'n	Dec. 8
			de Mari'a
   Juncos		La Inmaculada Concepcio'n	Dec. 8
			de Mari'a
   Las Mari'as		La Inmaculada Concepcio'n	Dec. 8
			de Mari'a
   Las Piedras		La Inmaculada Concepcio'n	Dec. 8
			de Mari'a
   Vega Alta		La Inmaculada Concepcio'n	Dec. 8
			de Mari'a
   Vieques		La Inmaculada Concepcio'n	Dec. 8
			de Mari'a
   Ponce		Ntra. Sra. de la Guadalupe	Dec. 12

   Contributions: Jimmy Gonzalez Luna  from the 
   book of Jennie Sosa de Remy, "Etiqueta y Tradiciones Puertorrique~nas",
   Art Printing Inc., pp. 242-243, 1980.

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Subject: Christmas Celebrations

   In Puerto Rico, as well as most of Latin America,  Christmas traditions
   have their roots in Catholicism.  Due to  contact  with other cultures,  
   some  of these traditions  have evolved and changed through time.  Some 
   customs  have lost their  religious meaning  and become  secular events 
   where everybody, regardless of religious affiliation, participate.

   Here  is the calendar of  celebrations  for the  Christmas  holidays in 
   Puerto Rico.

   MISAS DE AGUINALDO [Nine consecutive nights before Christmas Eve]
      - In the  Catholic tradition  these masses are celebrated with music 
	and carols.  They are celebrated at dawn (between 5:00 and 6:00am)
	during nine days before Christmas Eve.
      - The favorite  music instruments to use during  these  masses,  and
	throughout  the  season,  are: "el cuatro"  (a small guitar);  the
	guitar;	"el gu:iro" (a  hollow wood  shell made from the skin of a 
	fruit called "higuera"); and  "maracas"  (made from the same fruit 
	as the "gui:ro", but smaller and round).
      - These masses originated in Mexico and Central America, to motivate 
 	the Native Americans to join  Christianity.   Native Americans  in 
 	Mexico  used to  celebrate  the  birth  of  their  Sun God  during
        December,   with   music   and   dancing.   Catholic  missionaries 
        incorporated  these  custom to  their  masses  to  make them  more 
        appealing to the  Natives  and facilitate the  transition from one
        faith to another.
      -	From Mexico, this custom spread to the Caribbean. It is unknown in 
	South America and Spain.

   MISA DE GALLO [December 24 at midnight]
      - In the Catholic Church, this mass is celebrated on December 24  at 
	midnight. Its purpose is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Like in 
	the  "Aguinaldo"  mass,  there  is  music  and  singing,  but  the 
        atmosphere is more solemn.

   NOCHEBUENA [Christmas Eve - December 24]
      - A special dinner  or  party  is  organized  by  many  families  to 
        celebrate the birthday of Jesus at home.
      - The menu varies  from  one  family  to  another,  but  it  usually 
        includes a special dish, like baked chicken or turkey, and roasted
        pork or ham.
      - The main dish is accompanied by  Spanish rice  with  pigeon  peas, 
        local  vegetables like  cooked green bananas,  fried plantains  or 
        cooked yam.  Another Holiday dish is called "pasteles".  It's made
        of mashed green	bananas, filled  with meat  and  other vegetables, 
        wrapped in the leaves of the banana tree (the leaves are  only for
        wrapping,  we don't eat	them).  They are cooked in boiling water.
      - We also have Holiday desserts like: "arroz con dulce" (rice cooked 
        with spices, sugar, milk, and  coconut milk)  and  "tembleque"  (a 
        custard	made  with  cornstarch, sugar,  and  coconut milk).   They 
        taste better cool down or cold, when its consistency  becomes more 
        solid.
      - The nougat,  imported from Spain,  is another  popular  sweet dish 
        during the Holidays.  Nuts are also popular.

   NAVIDAD [Christmas - December 25]
      - Christians celebrate Jesus' birthday.
      - Santa Claus brings gifts to the children who had  been good during
        the year.  This custom originated in the USA, but since the 1940's
        has  become part of  Puerto Rico's  Holiday  traditions.  In other 
        Spanish-speaking countries like  Spain and Mexico is also becoming
        popular.
      - The  Christmas tree is another  custom imported  from the USA.  We
	decorate  a pine  tree (natural  or  artificial)  with lights  and 
	adornments.  The houses are also decorated with lights.
      - People build "nacimientos"  (also called "Belens"  or  "pesebres", 
        known in English as  cribs or creches).  These  cribs recreate the
        story of  Jesus' birth.  They are made with scale  figures made of
        wood, plastic  or porcelain.  The  complexity  of the crib  varies
        from one place  to another.  Some are simple,  with the figures of
        Jesus,  Joseph, and Mary.  Others   include  the  three  Wise Men,
        shepherds,  animals,  buildings,  etc.  In some Catholic churches,
        large and elaborate cribs  are built as altars for people to visit 
        them on Christmas Eve.

   DIA DE LOS INOCENTES [Day of the Innocents - December 28]
      - During this day,  Catholics remember the children killed by Herod, 
        as it is told in the Gospel.
      - People used to celebrate  this day like a carnival, where some men
	dressed as the "evil soldiers of Herod", and went house by  house,
	"kidnapping"  the first-born boy  from  every  family.  To recover 
        their children,  the families had to offer the soldiers gifts, and
        when  the  children  returned  to  their  homes,  a  big party was 
        organized to celebrate the return of the "lost boys".
      - In Puerto Rico, this carnival still takes place in one small  town
        called Hatillo.  The whole town  joins in the parade  and later on
        in a  big party at the  public  square.  In  another  town  called 
        Morovis, a  similar  event  takes place,  but in a  smaller scale.
        This carnival  originated in the  Canaries isles, and were brought
        to Puerto Rico by immigrants from that place.
      - Today, this day  is  celebrated  in a  different way.  People make
        tricks and  stories to  fool others,  resembling the  April Fool's
        Day in the USA.

   A~NO VIEJO [New Year's Eve - December 31]
      - People celebrate  the end of the year  with relatives and friends,
        or going out.   The end of year is a symbol  of a  new  beginning,
        when people make changes to improve their lives.  The major  event
        occurs  at midnight,  when everybody greets each other  and wishes  
        good luck and happiness to everyone.
      - Some people eat 12 grapes, one for every time the  clock rings its 
	bells to tell time.  It is supposed to bring  good luck if you can 
	eat all 12 grapes before the  clock stops ringing the  bells.   Of 
	course, not  everybody have wall clocks with ringing bells, so the 
	custom varies.
      -	In Puerto Rico, right at midnight, TV and radio stations broadcast
        a famous  poem  called  "El Brindis del Bohemio",  which tells the
        story of a group of friends together in a bar  celebrating the New 
        Year.
      - The celebration continues all night long.

   VISPERA DE EPIFANIA [Epiphany's Eve - January 5]
      - Catholics meet in a  neighbor's house  to pray  the  rosary and to 
        honor  the  three Wise Men  (saints in the  Catholic faith).  This 
        custom is almost forgotten by the younger generations.
      - The children get ready to receive gifts from the three Wise Men by
	collecting  fresh cut grass  in a shoe box.  The grass  is for the 
        Wise Men's camels,  who  are  tired  and  hungry  from  their long
        journey.  Some people also  put pastries,  food and drinks for the
        Wise Men  under the  Christmas tree or along with  the grass under
        the children's bed.
	
   DIA DE REYES [Three Kings' Day or Epiphany - January 6]
      - The children get to open the gifts  left the  night before  by the 
        three Wise Men (or Kings).
      - A party similar to the one celebrated in Christmas day is organized 
	by the family, with the same Holiday menu and music.
      - The Orthodox Church celebrates Jesus' birthday on this day.

   OCTAVAS & OCTAVITAS [January 15]
      - According to tradition, if you received a visit from a  friend or
	relative on  Three Kings' day,  you are  supposed  to return  the
        visit eight days later, playing live music and singing songs. The
        name "Octavas" comes from  the word  "octavo" (eighth), since the
        event takes place eight days after January 6.
      - People  still  remember  this tradition,  but is not practiced as 
        much.  Some  families choose this day to  take off  the Christmas 
        decorations and "officially" end Christmas.

   Contributions:  Jimmy Gonzalez Luna   from
   - Kennedy, Pamela, "A Christmas Celebration: Traditions & Customs from
   Around the World".  Nashville: Ideals Publishing Corp., 1992.
   - Ross & Lopez, "Christmas In Mexico".  Chicago: World Books Inc., 1983.
   - Sosa de Remy, Jennie, "Etiqueta & Tradiciones Puertoriquen~as". 
   San Juan: Art Printing Inc., 1980.
   - "BOLETIN ARTES POPULARES: LAS FIESTAS TRADICIONALES DE PUERTO RICO".
   San Juan: Instituto de Cultura Puertorrique~na, 1980. 

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Subject: National Symbols

|\###########|	Puerto Rico's flag has a  white  star  in  a  light  blue

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