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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.

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.

Once the carolers have eaten their fill 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.

Sponsors: Parrandón Navideño 2023

Bay Fest

What is Bay Fest?

The Puerto Rican Bay Fest is one of the most important festivals in Providence, Rhode Island. Being the event with the largest participation of Puerto Ricans in the state, this free festival is a celebration in a family atmosphere of our culture and our history.

With more than 5,000 people at the event, Bay Fest offers a variety of music, food, drinks, family friendly entertainment, and more.

Why is this event held?

Bay Fest is a moment where we can be Puerto Ricans and express our warmth, love, respect and tradition. The Puerto Rican Professional Association of RI understands the importance of creating a space and a moment to remember who we are as a people. Whether it is a patron saint holiday, a “SanSe”, or a tomato or coffee festival, in Puerto Rico, music and culture identify us during different dates of the year depending on your town on the island. However, at Bay Fest, it doesn’t matter if you are from Aguas Buenas or Hormiguero, if you are Puerto Rican or from another nation, we all come together as one to celebrate a piece of our Boriken land.

What do I need to bring to the event?

We recommend bringing umbrellas, glasses, sunscreen and liquids to stay hydrated. The event will have water for sale in case you need it.

Can I bring my own drink?

Due to Rhode Island state law, you will not be able to bring your own beverages. However, at the event there will be a number of selections of beers, drinks, and cocktails.

Can I bring my children?

Of course! The event is made precisely for family enjoyment, with children in mind. There will be different events and entertainment for children at the festival.