Friday, January 2, 2009

Culture of Puerto Rico

'La escuela del Maestro Cordero' by Puerto Rican artist Francisco Oller.

The culture of Puerto Rico is the result of a number of international and indigenous influences, both past and present. Modern cultural manifestations showcase the island's rich history and help to create an identity which is a melting pot of cultures - Taíno (Native Indian), Spanish, African, Other Europeans, Asians, Middle Easteners, and North American.[1]


[edit] Influences

The presence of Spanish, African, and Caribbean groups have had the greatest influence on the development of a distinct Puerto Rican cultural identity, but a political and social exchange with the U.S. has also helped to shape the local culture.

[edit] Europe

When addressing European involvement in Puerto Rico the emphasis must be on Spain, the island's colonizer.[2] Spanish heritage has left an indelible mark on the island and signs of this cultural exchange can be found everywhere, from the official language to the local culinary styles.

The culture of European countries has also influenced the development of the performing arts on the island, especially in music. Many of the island's musical genres have their origins in the Spanish culture, which is responsible for such genres of music like decima, seis, danza, mamba, and so on. Puerto Ricans even adopted Europe's classical music, which was popular among the members of the elite upper-class society.

[edit] Africa

With the introduction of slavery to the colony, the island experienced an influx of Africans who brought with them the cultural trappings of their own tribes. These influences are particularly notable in the fields of dance and music,such as la bomba, la plena, and most recently in reggaeton. Also in Puerto Rican Spanish. More subtle ties also exist, such as those that connect Puerto Rico's literary history with the rich African tradition of oral storytelling.

[edit] Caribbean and Latin America

The shared heritage of many Caribbean nations is reflected in cultural pursuits like dance as well as in local culinary styles. The neighboring islands that have had the most influence on Puerto Rico's dance and music are Cuba and the Dominican Republic. A number of Latin American countries also have exerted influence on Puerto Rico, particularly in helping the island to develop its own distinct cultural identity. In the filmmaking community, co-productions between Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, have created an exchange of ideas and influenced their film conventions. For instance, the Latin sense of humor and fantastical elements are evident in Puerto Rican films.

[edit] United States

Culturally, Puerto Rican sentiment for the U.S. tends to vary between emulation and opposition, a result of the complicated socio-political relationship between the two. American influences such as jazz can be found in the development of the island's unique musical style, but there is also evidence of cultural antagonism, particularly in areas such as literature. This dichotomy also exists in cinema, which has been greatly influenced by the U.S. With its commonwealth status, Puerto Rico always attracted U.S. studios to shoot in the country, and film genres popular in the States during specific periods were often mirrored in contemporary Puerto Rican productions. However, other films delve into issues springing from the complex relationship between the two countries.

[edit] Cultural pursuits

  • Cinema - Find out about the island's own film industry as well as its role in international cinema.

  • Cuisine - Learn more about the distinctive flavor of local cooking.

  • Dance - Performing arts such as dance are an integral part of cultural expression.

  • Literature - Literary achievement has helped Puerto Rico to gain international acclaim.

  • Music - Music on the island blends diverse cultural influences.

  • Art - Puerto Ricans have contributed a great deal to the world of visual arts.

  • Sports - Learn more about the types of sports that are popular on the island.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Puerto Rico Convention Center. "Puerto Rico: Culture". About Puerto Rico.

  2. ^ Carrión, Arturo Morales. Puerto Rico: A Political and Cultural History. pp 41 - 51

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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