Jayuya Festival of Indian Lore

Jayuya Festival of Indian Lore

Mid-November
The Jayuya Indian Festival was started in 1969, when new traces of the Taino Indian culture were discovered in and around Jayuya, Puerto Rico. The town of Jayuya was once a center of Taino Indian activity, and many Taino stone carvings can still be seen in nearby caves, even though the tribe itself is extinct. The annual festival is held in mid-November and is timed to coincide with the anniversary of the first sighting of Puerto Rico by Columbus on November 19, 1493.
Festival events include Indian ceremonies and dances as well as concerts featuring fotutos (conch shells) as instruments. There is a ceremonial Taino ball game that resembles soccer, and a village ( yukayeque ) of thatched-roof huts that enables visitors to see how the Indians lived. Visitors can attend lectures on the Taino language and customs or take a tour of the caves containing the Indian drawings.
Although Indian arts and crafts are on sale and there are kiosks serving food typical of the island's indigenous population, the Jayuya Indian Festival also has a serious scholarly purpose, which is to educate people about the Taino culture and to encourage more research in this area. Awards are presented each year at the festival to those who have done scholarly work on Puerto Rico's pre-Columbian cultures.
CONTACTS:
Puerto Rico Tourism Company
666 Fifth Ave., 15th Fl.
New York, NY 10103
800-866-7827 or 212-586-6262; fax: 212-586-1212
www.gotopuertorico.com
SOURCES:
GdUSFest-1984, p. 219
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