My Puerto Rican Heritage

By Zoe Hernandez

September through October is Hispanic Heritage month. My heritage is Puerto Rican. There’s a lot to know about Puerto Rico, the heritage and culture. The island of Puerto Rico officially became a U.S. Commonwealth in 1952. Also, Puerto Ricans received U.S. citizenship in 1917. The island of Puerto Rico is rich in festivals/holidays, traditions, art, and music. Puerto Rico is also rich in the food as well. Puerto Rico has gone through a lot of events. A majority of these events are a mixture of good and bad.

There are so many different festivals/holidays that Puerto Ricans celebrate. However, there are some major festivals/holidays that are traditions for the people in Puerto Rico. Three Kings Day, also known as in Spanish El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos, is one of the major holidays for Puerto Ricans. Every year on January 6, children will gather grass and put it in a box at the foot of their bed. This became a tradition because long ago, three kings explored the entire island of Puerto Rico.

One major festival is the Puerto Rican Day Festival. This type of festival happens all over the United States. Although, the two biggest ones happen in New York City and in Puerto Rico. Famous Spanish singers join these two festivals to perform. We celebrate our traditions and it shows that these traditions will always keep on thriving on forever.

There are many specific traditions in the Puerto Rican culture. One of them is traditional dishes. Dishes like Mofongo, Aspao and Tostones are considered everyday food for Puerto Ricans. Another tradition is that passengers clap their hands when their plane lands in Puerto Rico. It’s very uncommon for passengers to clap when their plane lands elsewhere. In Puerto Rico, it is a gesture of thanks that the plane landed safely. Not many people know about these traditions, but Puerto Ricans know them because they lived through them for decades.

I am very proud to be a Puerto Rican. There’s a lot of my heritage that I don’t know about, but I’m willing to learn more about it. There’s a lot of dishes that are out there in the Puerto Rican culture. Being a Puerto Rican means a lot to me. I really care about my heritage because I have family who lives in Puerto Rico. They mean the world to me. Without them, I wouldn’t be here to tell about my heritage. I don’t have a favorite dish. I like all types of Puerto Rican dishes. There is a variety of Spanish music. Although, the three types of Spanish music that Puerto Ricans listen to are Salsa, Reggaeton and Merengue. I listen to all three types.

About Zoe: Zoemarie Hernandez lives in Meriden, Connecticut. A Quantum® brand ambassador, Zoe attends Abilities Expos and speaks with people about her disability. She is currently enrolled in college and hopes to work in a community one day with people who are just like her. Click here to learn more about Zoe.