On Sunday, June 14, 2009, I marched for the first time in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. Thanks to my sister-in-law, who is an employee of Goya Foods, I joined her, my brother, sister, aunt, niece and about a hundred others in the Goya contingent down Fifth Avenue. The sea of red, white, and blue was magnificent, filled with prideful Boricua smiles and eyes of all ages. It was an experience of a lifetime.
The word Boricua is derived from the original Taíno name for Puerto Rico, Borikén: Land of the Brave Noble Lord. Boricua represents a proud sense of identity. Some people use the word interchangeably with Puerto Rican and others use the word to refer specifically to people native to Puerto Rico.
The most accurate definition of the word, in my opinion, is found in Roberto Santiago’s Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican Writings – An Anthology. Santiago writes, “Boricua is what Puerto Ricans call one another as a term of endearment, respect, and cultural affirmation; it is a timeless declaration that transcends gender and color. Boricua is a powerful word that tells the origin and history of the Puerto Rican people.”
I am presently reading Santiago’s anthology and recommend it to any one who wants to obtain a better sense and understanding of Boricuas: the valiant people.