Parrandas Brings Latina Tradition to Wellesley

December 11, 2012

On December 11, Trullas Navideñas Enliven the Campus Center

On the last day of classes each Fall semester, Mared Alicea-Westort, the advisor to Latina students, organizes a Latino holiday celebration called Parrandas. This gathering over traditional Caribbean food for dancing, caroling, and presentation of the history of the instruments and Parrandas is an event that the campus has come to look forward to attending as December draws near each year.

This year Parrandas takes place in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus center, beginning in Tishman Commons at 5:00 p.m.

Parrandas, also known as Trullas Navideñas, is a Latino celebration of the winter holidays. It plays an integral part in the cultural traditions of Puerto Rico and is central to the holiday season. Similar to caroling, Parrandas starts with a group of friends and family who go from home to home unannounced, singing and playing Christmas music sometimes late at night throughout the entire Christmas season. The carolers play typical instruments like maracas, triangles, or the "guiro," an instrument made of a hollow shell from the skin of a fruit called higuera.

Once the trulla group is invited inside a home, the host offers Christmas treats and delicious drinks. Subsequently, the entire group, including the host, ventures on to another house where the process repeats and the group continues to grow! This ritual occurs several times throughout the night, surprising and accumulating persons until dawn.

Since Wellesley serves as the students’ home away from home, students will congregate in Tishman Commons to sing, dance, and celebrate. From there we form our Parrandas group and then will visit the second, third, and fourth floors before returning back down to gather at Tishman. The purpose of Parrandas at Wellesley is to bring together students, faculty, and staff in celebration of the holiday season, and to share an important part of the Latino culture with the Wellesley community.

Over the past eight years, this event has grown increasingly popular among the non-Latina and Latina communities alike. Students invite friends, faculty and staff invite family and colleagues, and it has expanded from there. Leaders from the Office of Intercultural Education are thrilled that the broader Wellesley community has embraced what began as a strictly traditional Latino holiday and made it part of the annual Wellesley tradition without respect to cultural heritage. Last year saw the biggest turnout since the Parrandas event began at Wellesley in 2004—may it grow even bigger this year!






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