Vejigantes de Puerto Rico

A vejigante is a clown-like character who appears in festival celebrations of Puerto Rico. Traditional colors of the Vejigantes were black, red, and yellow. Today, vejigantes wear brightly colored, ornate masks (máscaras) of all colors and a costume with bat-like wings. The word vejigante comes from the words vejiga (bladder) and gigantic (giant), due to custom of blowing up and painting cow bladders. Bystanders are often tapped with the bladders during the processional. The masks are often linked to many festivals that continue today, especially in the cities of Loíza and Ponce. In the US diaspora, celebrations also take place in New York City.