Festival Brings Jíbaro Spirit of Puerto Rico to Holyoke
Jíbaro Festival at La Finca – July 9, 12pm to 4pm
Holyoke, MA – A Jíbaro is a term used to refer to the people of the mountains, who lived in the heart of the island and are the “backbone” of Puerto Rican culture. The term refers to the countryside people who farm the land in a traditional way, but it represents so much more.
“Jíbaro is an important part of Puerto Rican culture,” said Hilda Roque, Executive Director of Nuestras Raíces, organizer of the event. “It represents a connection to nature, to the land, of the farm families in Puerto Rico. It’s a rejection of industrial and crowded city life, a belief in independence, of community, of how we must all work together.”
Jíbaros are an important part of Puerto Rican Culture
The culture of Jíbaro includes many aspects, from agriculture, to cuisine, to music, to art, to traditions, to folklore and family. Ms. Roque hopes to re-ignite the culture of Jíbaro in the area’s younger residents, beginning with the festival. “So many of our younger generation have lost the connection to the culture of Puerto Rico,” she said, a natural consequence of families migrating to the United States, particularly to Western Massachusetts and Holyoke.
“As life on our land has been transformed from agrarian and independent to a city-based, dependent industrialized society, families migrated to the US to be with others in their family to earn a living.” She wants to keep the spirit of Jíbaro alive for future generations, perhaps to try to restore some of that treasured way of country life.
Jíbaros have had a significant impact on the culture, political life, and language of Puerto Rico. Historically, the Jíbaro was a very marginalized figure due to a perception of being outliers to the social order, as they forged their own lifestyle where agriculture was valued above industry and racial hierarchies were not deeply considered.
Jíbaros are an independent spirit
The formation of the Jíbaro stemmed from a desire among settlers as far back as the late 1500s to separate themselves from the governmental, racial, religious, and economic constraints instituted by the Spaniard influence in Puerto Rico.
“The Jíbaro has become a national symbol in Puerto Rico to represent the self-sufficient, anti-establishment, mixed-raced peasant,” said Ms. Roque. “We want our festival to spark a return to the pride of our land.”
FESTIVAL ADMISSION IS FREE
The Jíbaro Festival will include a traditional pig roast, Puerto Rican folk music, games, activities for kids, and more. Special musical performance by Parrandero de Villalba y Su Fuerza Tipica, a local band specializing in Jíbaro-style music on the Cuatro. The Cuatro is a 10-string guitar-like instrument popular throughout the Caribbean.
The Jíbaro Festival is held at La Finca, a working urban farm managed by Nuestras Raíces, from Noon to 4pm, Saturday, July 9. La Finca is located at 24 Jones Ferry Rd, Holyoke, MA. Admission is free.
All attendees to the festival are eligible for FREE RAFFLE PRIZES from our sponsors.
This event would not be possible without the collaboration of the USDA, and support from community members. Complete details on our website here: https://nuestras-raices.org/event/jibaro-festival-july-9/
Join us on July 9 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm at La Finca, 24 Jones Ferry Rd, Holyoke, MA.
ABOUT NUESTRAS RAÍCES
Nuestras Raíces is a grassroots urban agriculture organization based in Holyoke, MA. Our mission is to create healthy environments, celebrate “agri-culture,” harness our collective energy, and to advance our vision of a just and sustainable future. For more information, or for interview opportunities, please contact Hilda Roque at (413) 535-1789 x 205.
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