Did you know that Saint Sebastian was not mortally wounded when he was tied to a tree and pierced with arrows? The martyr was actually rescued and nursed back to health (he was still killed for his faith, but it wasn't the arrows).
Did you also know that Saint Sebastian is annually honored with a massive open-air party on the street that bears his name in Old San Juan? The Festival de San SebastiŠn is one of Puerto Rico's biggest parties, second only to the Ponce Carnival, which takes place next month. This year's festivities run from this Thursday to Sunday, and here is a sampling of what you can expect if you plan to be there:
- Numerous local vendors selling arts and crafts at the Cuartel de BallajŠ and Casa Blanca
- Daily parades along Calle San SebastiŠn featuring stilt-walkers, cabezudos, which are giant masked characters representing local folkloric and historic characters, and of course, the infamous vejigantes.
- Several live music performances with local bands, choirs and orchestras.
- Plenty (and I mean plenty) of food and libations.
- Jam-packed crowds.
It's one of the island's most boisterous celebrations. I'm honestly not sure how Saint Sebastian would feel about it, but Puerto Ricans and thousands of visitors certainly approve. If you're attending, dress comfortably, stay hydrated and enjoy getting up close and personal with a whole bunch of fellow revelers.