What is the Vejigante?
The Vejigante (bay-he-GAHN-tay) is a colorful character first
introduced to carnival celebrations hundreds of years ago.
He is an example of the blending of African, Spanish, and
Caribbean influences in Puerto Rican culture.
The name Vejigante originates from the Spanish word for
bladder, vejiga. The character playing the Vejigante inflates a
dried cow's bladder and paints it to resemble a balloon. The
Vejigante's costume is made from scraps of fabric and looks
like a clown suit with a cape and bat wings under the arms.
Present day Vejigante revelers often use plastic or balloons
in place of the original cow bladder.
During the carnival celebrations in Loíza Aldea and Ponce,
the Vejigantes roam the streets in groups and chase children
with their vejigas. The Vejigante is such an old character that
he is even mentioned in the classic novel Don Quixote written
Puerto Rico Masks was founded from the desire to maintain cultural traditions and share Puerto Rican
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