Best time to go to Puerto Rico

Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo 2022

A colorful parade of masks and costumes kicks off the holiday season in Puerto Rico

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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One of the most vibrant annual festivals in Puerto Rico, Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo (Hatillo Mask Festival), is always held on December 28th. On this day, Puerto Rico commemorates Día de Los Santos Inocentes, dedicated to infant boys under the age of three who were murdered by King Herod soldiers when he was looking for baby Jesus. Thus, these innocent children were called the first Christian martyrs.

The town of Hatillo, located on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, has been celebrating this holiday since 1823. It gradually evolved into a massive festival of humor and disguise, an equivalent of European April's Fools. Thousands of people are dressing up in the most incredible costumes and masks to parade the streets alongside flamboyant floats and elaborately decorated cars.

The parade that features women, men, and children dressed as traditional characters of Puerto Rican folklore moves to sounds of music. People joke around, play pranks, drink, and dance during the whole day. Hatillo town center turns into one giant theater or circus. After the parade, everyone gathers at the city's central square for a massive street party with food and various activities. Since the celebration originates from the Canary Islands, it is also part of the cultural heritage these settlers brought to Puerto Rico.

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