What Is a Parranda?
La Parranda is a Christmas Eve tradition in Puerto Rico. Around 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, a few friends get together to sing and play traditional Christmas carols, or aguinaldos, in front of another friend's house. This friend, the host, hears the music and invites them in for food and music and general celebration. After about an hour or so, the host joins the carolers, or parranderos, and they go to another friend's house and do it all over again. This continues from house to house until around 3 a.m., when the last host serves the asopao de pollo, the traditional soup, and things begin to wind down until finally the party comes to an end at dawn on Christmas Day.
What You Need:
- Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano and David Diaz (optional)
- a group of children and several of their parents
- small drums
- a tape or CD player
- a tape or CD of Parranda songs
- a tape or CD of Christmas carols
- chicken soup
- a cookbook featuring Puerto Rican recipes
What to Do:
- If available, read Feliz Navidad with your child. This book offers a rich look at a unique Puerto Rican Christmas tradition, La Parranda. Explain what a Parranda is and that you and your child will be hosting one for her friends.
- Set up several rooms in your house with Christmas and Parranda decorations. You will need one parent volunteer to chaperone each room. Invite your guests to arrive at 6 p.m.
- Before your guests arrive, make several different Puerto Rican dishes with your child and place each in a different room. Set up a tape or CD player in the main room so that you can play music for your guests.
- When the guests arrive, they should let you know by singing Christmas carols outside your door. Invite them in, and give each child an instrument to play. Teach the children the song "Feliz Navidad" while each of your parent volunteers goes to one of the rooms.
- Have the children go from room to room, singing and dancing and playing their instruments. At each room, the stationed parent should invite the children in and give them some food.
- At 8 p.m., invite everyone to gather in the main room and serve chicken soup while the children listen to Christmas carols and Parranda music until it is time to go home.