Puerto Rican Heroes Day Date in the current year: February 19, 2024

Puerto Rican Heroes Day Since Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, it celebrates all official U.S. holidays. However, some of these holidays have different names here: for example, Presidents’ Day (the third Monday of February) is known as Día de los Próceres Puertorriqueños (Puerto Rican Heroes Day or the Day of Illustrious Puerto Ricans).

Presidents’ Day, also referred to as Washington’s Birthday, is a federal U.S. holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of the first U.S. President George Washington and all the subsequent presidents. It is also an official holiday in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where it has been known as Puerto Rican Heroes Day since 2014.

That year, the Government of Puerto Rico consolidated three birthdays of outstanding Puerto Ricans (Luis Muñoz Rivera, José Celso Barbosa, and Luis Muñoz Marín), which used to be public holidays, into one holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. This was done to reduce the number of public holidays in Puerto Rico.

Luis Muñoz Rivera (1859–1916) was a Puerto Rican poet, journalist and politician who is best remembered as one of the leaders of the struggle for Puerto Rico’s political autonomy. He was one of the people behind the Jones—Shafroth Act, which reformed the system of government in Puerto Rico and granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Rican citizens born on or after April 11, 1899.

Dr. José Celso Barbosa (1857–1921) is sometimes referred to as the Father of Puerto Rico’s statehood movement. The first Puerto Rican to earn a medical degree in the United States, he made many contributions to the island’s medicine and public health.

Luis Muñoz Marín (1898–1980) was the first democratically elected governor of Puerto Rico. He took office in 1949 and was reelected three more times, holding the post for sixteen years total. The Constitution of Puerto Rico was drafted and passed during Muñoz Marín’s tenure as a governor; he is widely regarded as the “Architect of the Puerto Rico Commonwealth”.

Alongside these three illustrious Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rican Heroes Day commemorates four more people who played an important role in the island’s history. They are Ramón Emeterio Betances, Román Baldorioty de Castro, Ernesto Ramos Antonini and Luis A. Ferré.

Ramón Emeterio Betances (1827–1898) was one of the leaders of the Grito de Lares, the first major uprising against the Spanish colonial authorities Although the rebellion failed to achieve its main goal, Puerto Rico did gain wider political autonomy as a result.

Román Baldorioty de Castro (1822–1889) was an abolitionist and an advocate for Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination, In addition, he was an educator who promoted the restructuring of the island’s educational establishments.

Ernesto Ramos Antonini (1898–1963) served as the President of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico from 1945 and 1963. He also co-founded the Popular Democratic Party, which advocates the commonwealth status quo.

Finally, Luis A. Ferré (1904–2003) served as the Governor of Puerto Rico from 1969 to 1973. He founded the New Progressive Party, which advocates for Puerto Rico to join the United States as the fifty-first state.

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Puerto Rican Heroes Day, Day of Illustrious Puerto Ricans, holidays in Puerto Rico, public holidays, Puerto Rican holidays