Puerto Rico’s National and Public Holidays in 2021
Puerto Rico celebrates a mixture of traditional, religious, and national government holidays. Official public holidays are those recognized by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. On such holidays, all public offices are closed. Below you will find a list of all traditional, religious, and national holidays celebrated in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
2021-01-01 | New Year’s Day (Día de Año Nuevo)
As is the case in many countries around the world, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with fireworks and other festivities. New Year’s Day is celebrated by Puerto Ricans as a holiday together with family and friends.
This religious holiday is also an official holiday for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Celebrations which are held to commemorate the Wise Men (Reyes Magos) 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.
2021-01-8 | 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.
2021-01-21 | 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.
2021-02-14 | Valentine’s Day (Día de San Valentín)
While not an official holiday, Valentine’s Day is a significant cultural and religious celebration. On this day friends and lovers exchange greeting cards, boxes of chocolate, roses, and gifts.
2021-02-18 | Presidents’ Day (Día de los Presidentes)
Washington’s Birthday is observed as an official government holiday in both the United States and Puerto Rico. George Washington was the first president of the United States. The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in February, which allows for an official day off and a long weekend for government employees.
2021-03-22 | 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.
2021-04-15 | 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.
2021-04-19 | 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.
2021-04-21 | Easter Sunday (Domingo de la Resurrección)
Easter or Resurrection Sunday is a religious holiday which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most businesses in Puerto Rico remain open on this day. Christians will generally attend church services in the morning, then, celebrate the day with family and friends. Easter egg decorations, candy baskets, and floral gifts are common on this day.
2021-05-12 | Mother’s Day (Día de las Madres)
On the second Sunday in May, Puerto Ricans celebrate Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a tradition which recognizes the importance of mothers and the maternal bond between mother and child. Businesses in Puerto Rico remain open on this day.
2021-05-27 | 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.
2021-06-18 | Father’s Day (Día de las Padres)
On the third Sunday in June, Puerto Ricans celebrate Father’s Day. Father’s Day is a tradition which recognizes the importance of fathers and the paternal bond between father and child. Businesses in Puerto Rico remain open on this day.
2021-07-04 | Independence Day (Día de la Independencia de Estados Unidos)
Independence Day is a United States government holiday, and an official holiday in Puerto Rico. The holiday commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776.
2021-07-15 | Birthday of Luis Muñoz Rivera (Natalicio de Luis Muñoz Rivera)
An official national holiday, the birthday of Luis Munoz Rivera is celebrated on the third Monday of July. Don Luis Muñoz Rivera was born in 1859 and died in 1916. He was a prominent journalist, poet, and a politician who advocated for the independence of Puerto Rico from both Spain and the United States.
2021-07-25 | 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.
2021-07-27 | Birthday of José Celso Barbosa (Natalicio de 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.
2021-09-02 | Labor Day (Día del Trabajo)
Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated both in the United States and Puerto Rico. The holiday is celebrated on the first Monday in September. Labor, or workers, are generally given the day off and encourage to spend the long weekend with family. The day also culturally marks the end of the summer, and, a time when students return to their studies.
2021-10-14 | Columbus Day (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. Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October.
2021-10-31 | Halloween (Día de Brujas)
Halloween is not an official holiday in Puerto Rico. You may notice stores and homes decorated in the latest Halloween fashion. Trick or treating is not as common as in the mainland United States. Clubs and pubs in Old San Juan, Isla Verde, and Condado may attract witches and warlocks on this holiday — Puerto Ricans in costume, dancing the night away.
2021-11-11 | Veteran’s Day (Día del Veterano)
Veteran’s Day is celebrated annually on November 11. The holiday is meant to honor military veterans of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Veteran’s Day in on the island is traditionally celebrated at the Puerto Rico National Cemetery.
2021-11-19 | Discovery of Puerto Rico (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.
2021-11-28 | 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.
2021-12-24 | Christmas Eve (Noche Buena)
Traditional Christmas decorations are common across the island of Puerto Rico during the year-end holiday season. Workers may leave early on this religious holiday and gather with family and friends for dinner and parties. Parents and children ready themselves for Santa Claus, who travels the world to deliver presents, and stuffs their stockings while they sleep.
2021-12-25 | 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. Christmas decorations are common across Puerto Rico during the year-end holiday season. Feliz Navidad and other Christmas songs will be sung and played all day long.
2021-12-31 | New Year’s Eve (Fin de Año)
Around the world everyone celebrates the end of the old year, and, the beginning of the new year. Firework displays and parties will flourish around the island, the largest of which will be held along the waterfront in San Juan.
Last updated: February 8, 2021