The Holiday Season in Puerto Rico is Officially Over: SanSe Brought Out Rauw Alejandro and More

The Holiday Season in Puerto Rico is Officially Over: SanSe Brought Out Rauw Alejandro and More belatina latine
Credit: Instagram/Puertoricogram

After being canceled for two consecutive years, Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían in Puerto Rico was enjoyed this past weekend.  

Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían or La SanSe, which is how Puerto Rican natives call it, is Puerto Rico’s largest street festival. It also marks the end of the holiday season for La Isla del Encanto, making it the longest holiday season in the world.  

This year, Rauw Alejandro, PJ Sin Suela, artisans, artists, and more joined the festival. Being that this was the first full-blown Sanse in such a long time, Puerto Ricans and tourists flocked to Old San Juan. Every corner of El Viejo San Juan was jam-packed as this traditional celebration, which started on Thursday and ended on Sunday, left its yearly mark. Keep in mind that on average, about 300,000 people attend Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían. 

For those who aren’t familiar with La SanSe, it is massive. Check out some of its best moments this year below.  

The start of SanSe 2023. 

People enjoying their time in SanSe. 

Singing and dancing together are part of SanSe’s culture. 

PJ Sin Suela reminds people that the beaches belong to Puerto Ricans and not to tourists. And he’s completely right. 


An aerial view of Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían. 

The beginning of SanSe

Like most celebrations in Latin America and the Caribbean, the origins of the festival are deeply tied to Christianity. Its inception was based around Saint Sebastian who was put to death for not surrendering his Christian faith. Oftentimes, the saint is portrayed with several arrows and tied to a tree.  

It was in the 1950s when honoring the saint began. According to Global Voices, the festival was an attempt to collect funds for repairing the buildings of the church of San José in the historic Old San Juan. However, the festival was discontinued until it was brought to life in 1970. SanSe was re-birthed at San Sebastián Street in Old San Juan, which, similar to most of Old San Juan, is characterized by cobblestone streets and colorful, colonial buildings.  

Nowadays, the festival has lost most of its religious nature and it’s mainly become a time of holiday celebration for Puerto Ricans where Old San Juan doesn’t sleep. It’s all about dancing, eating, shopping locally, and so much more.  

Want to join in on the fun?

Old San Juan, for the most part, is usually hectic. Traffic is wild during any time of the year and there’s always something going on, but on SanSe, it is on another level. If you ever do decide to go, plan to stay somewhere nearby because it will be difficult finding transportation outside of Old San Juan. So, make the most of it.  

This is also perhaps one of the only times you can enter La Perla safely. I went to SanSe in 2020 and was able to go down to La Perla. It was truly something else. But, don’t act a fool if you want to go in. Be respectful, put your phone away, and enjoy the vibes. Of course, it’s best you have a Puerto Rican local go in with you. 

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