"Be good, do good, live long in peace." --DJ 

On the Roots of Puerto Rico… The Jíbaro!
By Les Rivera
“A Puerto Rican shall not be boring! To describe Don Jíbaro as anything less than riveting would be an understatement of his own philosophy”.

When I wrote an article on Don Jíbaro a long time ago, I felt that his comment was perhaps the greatest way to describe what a Jíbaro was all about. And as far as Don Jíbaro himself is concerned, he is a native Puerto Rican, complete with all the humble peasantry and simple lifestyle, which surrounds someone who lives like a true Jíbaro! And, for the uninitiated, the term “Don” in Spanish can be translated as the English “Sir”.

Thus, the name Don Jíbaro not only represents a person who just happens to be a well-known Puerto Rican on the world wide web, but rather, the ultimate name anyone can proudly carry to represent what Puerto Rican culture is all about.

From within that Jíbaro humbleness rises a personality so full of life and excitement, exposing that spectacular Castillian Spanish origin of Puerto Rico to its fullest, from laid back personalities to hot flaring tempers!

Thus the term 'Jíbaro' in Puerto Rico represents and retains the strongest elements of European Spanish culture found on the island.
The Jíbaros were the country folk from the interior and highlands of Puerto Rico who were principally farmers and laborers. It was largely on their backs that the agricultural boom took place. The Jíbaros relentlessly worked the fields and plantations of the hacendados (the Spanish landowners). The arrangement was typical for the times:

Jíbaros were not slaves (the Spanish imported slaves from Africa), but they were an impoverished and uneducated group. The land owners wanted it that way. After all, keeping workers poor and uneducated secured a reliable production on the landowners’ land.

And, like the African slaves, they found their voices in music.Today, the songs of the Jíbaros are a celebrated part of the island's culture. The Jíbaros also became the subject of paintings and other artistic expressions by some of Puerto Rico's most renowned master artists.

The Jíbaros celebrated their coffee harvest with joyful music and dance. Jíbaro music and dance was the principal musical expression of such. Lively celebrations typically lasted long into the night.

The Jíbaro music arrived as a result of the influence of eight centuries of domination from Spain. The influence of Arabic culture can also be heard in this music, as well as the intricate influence of African rhythms, spiced up with a dash of Taino. Today, many younger generation Puerto Ricans only associate Jíbaro music with Christmas because of the tradition of the Parrandas, especially Puerto Ricans born and raised on the U.S. mainland.

The Jíbaro has many facets.... one being his simplicity!



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