In the middle of the night many Puerto Ricans during the holiday season gather together with musical instruments and sneak up at the doorway of unsuspecting homes to give them a “parranda!”
♫♫♫♫ ¡Asalto! ¡Te traigo esta trulla pa’ que te levantes! ¡Te traigo esta trulla pa’ que te levantes! ¡Esta trulla esta caliente, esta trulla esta que arde! ♫♫♫♫
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Photo courtesy of my sister Gladys E. Cancel 🙂
This is a long-standing tradition in Puerto Rico. The parranderos sing aguinaldos Navideños (Puerto Rican Christmas songs) in true camaraderie, and fellowship to celebrate the holidays. The guest (receiving la parranda) in return will feed them offering sweet treats, and an “asopao” (hearty soup), and then they are on their way to the next house. This goes on until wee hours of the night, sometimes within an hour or two before day break visiting different homes.
In Puerto Rico there are also the “fiestas solemnes” (religious festivals):
Misas de Aguinaldos
Misa de Gallo 12/24
Día de Navidad 12/25
Despedida de Año 12/31
Año Nuevo 1/1
Día de Reyes 1/6
Las Octavas y Octavitas (8 days following 1/6)
We’ve been to Puerto Rico during the holiday season, but little one was just a toddler. So no, parrandas then. Now that he’s older I would love to take him and my husband to Puerto Rico so they can live this experience. It’s really like no other.
“Alegre Vengo…” is another song that you sing during las parrandas.
For a more mellow song, and mood we often listen to this beautiful song “Niño Jesús” by Tony Croatto. This one is a classic! 🙂
I was looking for books about Puerto Rican cultural traditions specifically about parrandas. I came across Mimi’s Parranda/La Parranda de Mimi (Spanish Edition). Unfortunately, they didn’t have it in our local library so I ordered it, and I’m hoping to receive it soon. I will update this blog post as soon as I review the book.
However, I recently had the opportunity to review Celebrate Christmas Around the World by Multicultural Kids Blog. I was thrilled to see a whole section on Christmas in Puerto Rico! You can read about the parrandas, and how Christmas is celebrated on this beautiful island; and five other countries! You can order your copy here.
Before I end my post I want to share a very meaningful picture that my sister took of our now 94 yr. old Abuelita. This picture was taken two years ago, and she’s singing a trulla. She too, has been enjoying this tradition for many, many years. She may not go out in the middle of the night to parrandear, but she enjoys it at home with our Mamá and the rest of our extended familia.
A special thank you to my sister and cuñado (brother-in-law) for the pictures and for not missing one parranda in Puerto Rico! ¡Wepa!!!