Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren

Fiesta de Santiago Apostól

  • Ken ChitwoodEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-08956-0_279-1


The Fiesta of St. James the Apostle (La Fiesta de Santiago Apostol) in Loíza Aldea is a 10-day festival held every July east of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. It commemorates the victory of St. James, its patron saint, over the Moors during the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula.


For locals, and according to the cultural politics of Puerto Rico, the Fiesta of St. James the Apostle (La Fiesta de Santiago Apostol) in Loíza Aldea is a celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican culture (Dávila 1997). The vejigantes are symbols of the strength of African traditions in a place where they have often been marginalized or neglected in cultural politics. They are also a celebration of mestizaje, the mix of American cultural antecedents from Spanish, African, and indigenous roots. Thus, in many ways, Puerto Rican national symbolism is expressed in the faces of the vejigantes, or diablitos, which are emblazoned with the Puerto Rican flag and held up as embodiments of the...


Islam Muslims Moros Spain Vejigantes Festival 
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  1. Alegría RE (1956) The Fiesta of Santiago Apostol (St. James the Apostle) in Loíza, Puerto Rico. J Am Folk 69(272):123–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dávila AM (1997) Sponsored identities: cultural politics in Puerto Rico. Temple University Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  3. Gomez M (2005) Black crescent: the experience and legacy of African Muslims in the Americas. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Lind S (24 July 2017) Interview by author, Loíza Aldea, Puerto RicoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA