Puerto Rico’s Official, National and Public Holidays
Below you will find a list of all official, public and national holidays in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
New Year's Day (Día de Año Nuevo)
As is the case in many countries around the world, the first day of the New Year is celebrated with fireworks and other festivities as New Year's Day celebrations take place throughout Puerto Rico.
Three Kings Day (Día de Reyes)
This religious holiday is also an official holiday for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Celebrations which are held to commemorate the Wise Men visiting the newborn Christ, include children stacking boxes of hay under their beds for the camels of the Wise Men to find. The boxes of hay are exchanged for gifts.
Birthday of Eugenio María de Hostos (Natalicio de Eugenio María de Hostos)
Celebrated on the second Monday of January, this official holiday of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico remembers Eugenio María de Hostos - a Puerto Rican writer and statesman who was prominent in the fight for independence. Eugenio María de Hostos was also an educator, philosopher, lawyer and sociologist who was instrumental in putting an end to slavery in the late 1800s. This advocate for independence was referred to as El Ciudadano de América - meaning the Citizen of the Americas.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Natalicio de Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Taking place on the third Monday of January each year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is both a US Federal Holiday and an official holiday for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. He became a prominent spokesman for nonviolent activism for civil rights and against racial discrimination.
Emancipation Day (Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud)
Commemorating the abolition of slavery in 1873, Emancipation Day is an official holiday of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. At the time that slavery was abolished (1873), the island was still a colony of Spain. The event continues to be commemorated today.
Good Friday (Viernes Santo)
Primarily a religious holiday, Good Friday is an official public holiday in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Good Friday takes place on the Friday before Easter, with all businesses closing for the day.
Birthday of José de Diego (Natalicio de José de Diego)
Celebrated on the third Monday of April each year, this official public holiday is in honor of José de Diego y Martínez, who was known as the “Father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement”. As a statesman, poet, journalist, lawyer and advocate for Puerto Rican independence from Spain and the United States, José de Diego was an important figure in the history of island.
Memorial Day (Recordación de los Muertos de la Guerra)
As a US Federal holiday and an official holiday for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May each year. Although Memorial Day originally honored soldiers who died in the Civil War, it was later extended to commemorate all Americans who have lost their lives in armed conflict.
Commonwealth Constitution Day (Constitución del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico)
Previously referred to as Occupation Day, this official Commonwealth of Puerto Rico holiday commemorates the anniversary of American troops landing at Guanica in 1989. As a commonwealth of the United States, the Puerto Rican Constitution adheres to the US Constitution, but nevertheless has its own Constitution composed of nine articles which set out the island’s governmental structure.
Birthday of Dr. José Celso Barbosa (Natalicio de Dr. José Celso Barbosa)
This is an official holiday of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, honoring Natalicio de Dr. José Celso Barbosa (1857-1921) who was an active advocate of statehood and founded the Republican Party on the Island. Referred to as the ‘Father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement’ within in the New Progressive Party, Dr Barbosa was a medical doctor, political leader and sociologist – prominent in the history of the island.
Columbus Day (Día de la Raza Descubrimiento de América)
Commemorating the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, Columbus Day is a US Federal holiday and an official holiday of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Columbus Day has been celebrated in various ways since the late-1870s, becoming an official holiday in a number of countries, including the United States and Puerto Rico, in the early 20th century.
Discovery of Puerto Rico (Día del Descubrimiento de Puerto Rico)
This official holiday of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus on Puerto Rico’s northwest coast in 1493. Columbus (Don Cristóbal Colón) landed on the coast near present day Aguada on his second voyage to the so-called New World in 1493.
Thanksgiving Day (Día de Acción de Gracias)
Marking the beginning of the Holiday Season, Thanksgiving Day is a US Federal holiday and an official holiday for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Thanksgiving Day has been an annual tradition in the US since President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of thanksgiving be observed on November 26, 1863.
Christmas Day (Día de Navidad)
This religious holiday is also an official holiday for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Started during Spanish colonial rule, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.