Woven Stories: Maria’s Puerto Rican Holiday tradition

Woven Stories: Out of Many we are One imageHolidays, at all times of the year, elicit a variety of memories, stories, tradition, and culture. However, the winter holidays seem to hold some of the deepest traditions. As these times come closer, the HSHSL is asking you to think about your own holiday or winter stories and share them with our Woven Stories Project.

The following example speaks to the Christmas season, perhaps you have a story for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a winter tradition.  No matter the holiday or season the HSHSL wants to hear about it.  For inspiration read on about Maria Pinkas’, HSHSL metadata management librarian, Puerto Rican tradition of Parrandas Navideñas.

A Puerto Rican tradition that I hold dear are the Parrandas Navideñas. A parranda is a gift of lively music taken by an ad hoc group to a relative or friend during las Navidades (Christmas season). There are some typical instruments that are played while singing a parranda.

Photograph of a güiro and scraper, the güiro is a wooden gourdlike shaped insrument with various length scrapes across its top and two finger-sized holes on the side. The scraper has a handle and three metal prongs.The pictures includes the güiro with scraper, and palitos with maracas. When the parranda is a surprise musical visit, it is called asalto. The surprised hosts correspond offering everything from picaera (small bites of food) and drinks to a sopón (heavy soup) depending on how long the party is expected to go on. Often parrandas go to several houses in one night, adding to the musical group the people they have visited before.

Photograph of two musical instruments, one set is long stick shaped criss-crossed to form an x, the second have long handles and bulb-like ends. There are songs composed especially for Parrandas that tell of waking up the unexpected hosts, the food that is eaten, etc. Puerto Rican Navidades are not complete without a night of parrandas. They are a cultural proof of friendship or family fondness so typical of the season that I most love.

To submit your own story go to the Woven Stories Website. Submissions should be in the form of a photograph with a description of its importance to you. Descriptions can be as brief as a sentence or as long as a paragraph. Photographs must be at least 1200 x 1200 pixels. Multiple submissions are welcome. Submissions can be made anonymously by leaving the name and email fields on the form blank.

For addition inspiration see our more blog posts featuring Woven Stories.

For questions or concerns, contact: diversity@hshsl.umaryland.edu

This entry was posted in Exhibits, Faculty, Students and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.