Every year the Museo Del Barrio sponsors a parade in honor of the Latin American tradition of the visit of the three kings to the nativity.
The plena originated in Ponce around 1900. It was first heard in the neighborhood Barriada de la Torre, whose population consisted mostly of immigrants from St. Kitts, Tortola, and St. Thomas, who had settled on the island since the late 1800s. Originally, sung texts were not associated with the plena, which was rendered by guitar, accordion and pandero, but eventually, in 1907, singing was added.
Plena was often called the periodico cantado or "sung newspaper" for the lower classes because it spread messages among people, similar to the corridos in Mexico. The traditional center of plena was probably San Antón, a barrio ofPonce, although the black neighborhood of Loíza is also mentioned as the heartland for the genre. Its popularity peaked in the 1920s.
Plena music is generally folkloric in nature. The music's beat and rhythm are usually played using hand drums calledpanderetas, but also known as panderos. The music is accompanied by a scrape gourd, the guiro.Panderos/panderetass resemble tambourines but without the jingles. These are handheld drums with stretched animal skins, usually goat skin, covering a round wooden frame. They are three different sizes of pandereta used in plena: the Seguidor (the largest of the three), the Punteador (the medium-sized drum), and the requinto. An advantage of this percussion arrangement is its portability, contributing to the plena's spontaneous appearance at social gatherings. Other instruments commonly heard in plena music are the cuatro, the maracas, and accordions.
The fundamental melody of the plena, as in all regional Puerto Rican music, has a decided Spanish strain; it is marked in the resemblance between the plena Santa María and a song composed in the Middle Ages by Alfonso the Wise, King of Spain. The lyrics of plena songs are usually octosyllabic and assonant. Following the universal custom the theme touches upon all phases of life—romance, politics, and current events. Generally, anything which appeals to the imagination of the people, such as the arrival of a personage, a crime, a bank moratorium, or a hurricane, can be the subject of plena music.