Puerto Rico’s African soul is unveiled for five days every July during the Fiestas de Santiago Apóstol, a cultural extravaganza of drums, masks and hybrid religious iconography in honor of Saint James, the town's patron saint. Street food, arts and crafts booths and dance performances are woven throughout the celebration.
Starting on July 25, the festival is marked by three religious processions for Saint James: Santiago de los Hombres (Saint James of the Men), Santiago de las Mujeres (Saint James of the Women) and Santiago de los Niños (Saint James of the Children). On three consecutive days, statues representing these different versions of Saint James are carried through town to the historic Iglesia del Espíritu Santo y San Patricio, on the central plaza in Barrio Loíza Aldea. During the processions, locals dress in bright costumes and coconut masks representing different characters from Saint James' times: caballeros (knights), vejigantes (demons or Moors), locas (crazed women) and viejos (old men).