I have so many wonderful childhood Christmas memories. For me, Navidad (Christmas) is the best of all the Puerto Rican cultures. It is an amazing celebration. You have Christmas Eve (Nochebuena), Christmas Day (Navidad) and New Years Eve (Despedida de Ano). We also celebrate Little New Years (El Dia De Los Reyes). This is especially big for kids. We always keep our tree up until Little New Years.That is generally too long for my husband but I love it and I hope Buggy will come to enjoy it as well. My mother was one of eight which means I have a lot of cousins. It was great because we all grew up together. We had so much fun. You always had someone to play with and it was even better during the holidays.
My greatest memories are of the “parranda’s”. A parranda is when a small group of friends gather together to surprise another friend. It's the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling. Most parranderos play some sort of instrument, either guitarras (guitars), tamboriles (tamborines), maracas, or any other type of instrument and they all sing. Generally they were the people from our church choir.
The parrandas generally start late. I can’t remember what time but I remember that we were already in bed so they must have been after 8. We would hear the singing and the instruments and my sisters and I would get really excited because we knew what that meant-party time! When a parranda shows up at your house, you open the door and let them in. I remember my Mami making hot chocolate, Café con leche (coffee with milk), coquito (eggnog), bread, crackers, cheese, etc. There was a lot of singing and fun. When they were getting ready to leave Mami would tell us to get dressed because we would be joining the group and heading off to the next house and that meant a very late night for us. It was always such a great time for us. No matter how late we got home or how tired we were, there was no complaining. We couldn’t wait to do it again.
What are you favorite childhood Christmas memories?