The Puerto Ricans

First Arrival of Plantation Workers

On November 22, 1900 the first group of 56 Puerto Ricans began their journey to Maui, Hawaii. The early group who arrived in Honolulu were in very poor health and were extremely tired from their voyage. By 1902, 34 plantations had Puerto Ricans on their payroll. Occupations of the men were 4 clerical positions, 11 lunas, 15 railway laborers, 9 mill hands and 1734 field hands and common laborers. The immigrants were sent to plantations on various islands. Most stayed on the plantations to work but some of them moved from plantation to plantation because they did not like the type of work or they did not like the way they were being treated.

How Puerto Ricans advanced in economy

When baptized in 1901 Maria's padrinos (godparents) gave her 50 cents, her mom bought a hen who lays eggs. She then sold eggs and some chickens. With the money, the family used it to buy a pig who had piglets. Then they sold some pigs to buy a cow. Then donkeys and horses were bought. Having saved $100, they bought a little house.

The Puerto Rican Family Roles

The Father was the head of the household, provider and final decision maker. The Mother did all the cooking, cared for the children and did all of the household work. The children did household chores and were responsible for the garden and school work.

Favorite Foods

Pasteles (meat pies) involved the whole family. They cut green bananas and seasoned it to make masa (dough). A filling of pork and cilintro was put in it, and encased in banana or ti leaf and cooked.

Family Values

Compadres were adults who are chosen to become part of the family and participate in religious rites. The padrinos (godparents) of the child and the child's parents are the compadres. There is respect, mutural affection and obligation between the child, padrinos and compadres. The children ask the blessing, "la benedicion" and padrinos reply "Dios te bendiga" (may God bless you)

Puerto Rican Traditions

They enjoyed playing, listening, and dancing to music. Fathers and sons would practice playing the cuatros (a Puerto Rican ten-stringed version of the Spanish guitar) and the guitar. They also played the maracas (dried gourd or rattle containing dried seeds or pebbles). They also played the guiro (percussion instrument made out of a gourd played with scraping a stick). They sang songs in Spanish and learned and played Hawaiian and popular songs.

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