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Parrandón Navideño 2023

We are officially sold out of our annual Gala dinner,
“Parrandón Navideño 2023.”

Special thank you to our community and sponsors for making this happen each year. Thank you for your commitment to supporting the leaders of tomorrow.

2023 Sponsors

Annual Parrandón Navideño

Parrandas are a caroling party that occurs in Puerto Rico at Christmas, usually on Christmas Eve.

Where did the parrandas originate?

Puerto Rico is composed of up of many groups of people including; the Spanish, the Africans, and the Taíno Indians. Parrandas come from music developed by the African people and those who lived in the rural areas of Puerto Rico during the 16th through 18th centuries. Their music is called “jíbara.” Parrandas originated when the Puerto Ricans who sang and played jíbara music began to travel around from town to town, imitating the military bands that marched around the country.[3]

It’s believed that parrandas, may also come from the Christian religion in that it imitates the journey of Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, as they knocked on many doors looking for a place to stay the night that Jesus was born.

What happens during a parranda?

One family decides to visit a neighbor or friend’s house to surprise them by singing a Christmas song. The songs they sing are called “aguinaldos.” They sing very loudly in an attempt to get their neighbors and friends to come to open the front door and let them in. They are loud, even if everyone is asleep!

Often the carolers are accompanied by friends who play Puerto Rican musical instruments. Some popular instruments are the güiros (made from a gourd!), the triangle, and maracas. They also sometimes play the pandereta, el cuatro, or even el tambor. 

The people inside the house open the door and welcome the carolers. They then give the carolers some treats. Some dulces (sweets) that are very popular in Puerto Rico include rice with coconut, papaya sweets, donuts, marzipan, and nougat from Spain[4]. 

Once the carolers have eaten their fillparranda of treats, they move on to the next house. The people from the previous home now join them.  With the visit of every house, the group grows bigger; parrandas go well into the night- sometimes all night long. At the very end of the parranda, all of the carolers will go to one person’s house, and that person will serve them a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas Day breakfast- el sopón, a thick chicken and rice stew.

Annual Commemoration to the Puerto Rican Constitution in RI

On August 4, 1952 of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico establishes a full state holiday on July 25 of every year, to be known as Puerto Rico Constitution Day. The holiday commemorates the day the Constitution of Puerto Rico, approved on July 3, 1952, was signed into law by Governor Luis Muñoz Marín the same parrandayear. After acquiring the island of Puerto Rico from the Spanish-American War through the Treaty of Paris, the United States attempted to Americanize the island. In 1917, the United States government granted full U.S. Citizenship to Puerto Ricans through the Jones Act. However, the nationalist movements across the island pushed back on American assimilation. In July of 1952, a new constitution was created and signed into law by the governor of Puerto Rico. On July 25, 1952, the U.S. Congress amended the new constitution and made the island an autonomous U.S. commonwealth. 

The title of Commonwealth recognizes that Puerto Rico is a dependent territory, “organized but unincorporated,” meaning that it has the functionality of a state but does not belong to any of the states in the country. The overall structure of the Puerto Rican Constitution is similar to the U.S. document, as it contains various Articles of Organization and a Bill of Rights. While most of the enumerated rights echo the American original, such as freedom of speech, assembly, press, and religion, there are individual instances where the rights are further defined.  

Annual Puerto Rican BayFest

The purpose of the Puerto Rican BayFest is 

  • To enrich RI’s Puerto Rican community with a celebration of its traditions through the performing arts.
  • To deepen audience and communparrandaity engagement in the preservation of our cultural heritage- its continued growth and development. 
  • To stimulate the cultural scene and contribute to the socio-economic development of our local community. 
  • To facilitate relationships and closer ties between different cultures and to further enhance and extend the reach of the Puerto Rican festival. 
  • To foster the sharing of experiences, traditions, and culture in order to create opportunities that dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes, and increase respect for one another. 
  • To educate the public of the historical achievements and artistic expressions of related global cultures while developing an appreciation for the arts. 
  • To develop culture and tourism, as well as enhance economic development by expanding Rhode island’s reputation as an arts center and a destination for artistic events. 
  • To strengthen the identity and sense of belonging of the population. 
  • To encourage the discovery of new artists. 
  • To participate actively in regional development. Furthermore, the festival will represent the core values of excellence, diversity, and relevance.   

PRPARI is committed to maintaining the festival as a free event to the general public. The family-oriented event is held each year in the magnificent India Point Park. PRPARI encourages other ethnic groups to share their cultures through the arts in an effort to enrich the community and the audience. We believe these experiences improve the cultural, economic and social vitality of our region.