With fall in full swing, we have entered the time of year that many call “spooky season.” If you are planning a trip to Puerto Rico in the autumn, you may wonder how the island celebrates this time of the year. While many visitors to the island assume Puerto Rico has a celebration similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead, or Día de Los Muertos, “spooky” autumnal celebrations in Puerto Rico are not any different than Halloween on the United States mainland.
Across the island, you can find a plethora of haunted houses, family Halloween events, scary movie nights, excited trick-or-treaters, and other mainstream Halloween traditions. For those more interested in the occult side of this time of year, Puerto Rico has quite a few folk beliefs, traditions, and creatures that continue to spook many.
SanteríaOver the past few years, Santería has become associated with dark magic in popular culture, however, Santería is much more heavily nuanced. Similar to Voodoo and Hoodoo, Santería emerged as a result of the slave trade in the Caribbean. According to Welcome to Puerto Rico, Santería began in the Caribbean, specifically Cuba, as an offshoot of traditional Yoruba beliefs. African slaves, not allowed to practice their religion under their Roman Catholic masters, substituted the names of their deities with the names of various Christian saints and religious figures. Over time, Santería began to adopt Taino beliefs and practices as well, and the religion spread to islands across the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. While many believe that it is the practice of dark magic, Santería is actually just a syncretic religion practiced by many people in the Caribbean.
El ChupacabraWhile the chupacabra is a cryptid found across Latin American folklore, some of the most recent claims of the creature have been right in Puerto Rico. In 1995, many Puerto Ricans across the island reported seeing the blood-sucking creature, according to the Washington Post. While the legend of the vampire exists across cultures and time periods, the chupacabra is a particularly interesting version of the folk creature. “Chupacabra” quite literally means “goat-sucker” in English, and it is generally only reported to attack livestock rather than people. Multiple claims exist for the origin of the chupacabra. Some people claim that it is a supernatural creature like the Sasquatch, while others claim the chupacabra is an alien species, either the descendant of ancient aliens or the abandoned “pet” of an alien race. The latter theory also corresponds with the claims of UFOs in El Yunque throughout the 1990s. Even today, some Puerto Ricans believe that aliens live secretly in the vastness of El Yunque.
Halloween in Puerto Rico offers many of the same traditions and comforts as Halloween in the mainland United States, with the addition of uniquely Puerto Rican beliefs and practices. However, you choose to celebrate the spooky season in Puerto Rico, book your stay with Maria’s. When you’re ready to stay with us, booking is made through Twin Palms, Maria’s rental, and onsite management. Please visit our booking page on this website to view the availability of Maria’s and fill out our convenient contact form. If you have any additional questions regarding Maria’s, you may call Elizabeth at 787-685-6648 (español: Cristina at 787-449-3673).