Asaltados, Aguinaldos, Parrandas y Trullas – A Latin American Christmas Tradition

From “villancicos” to “parrandas” our version of Christmas involves lots of singing, dancing, eating and sharing with la familia y vecinos. For those of us that grew up in the Caribbean, or whose family originate from there, can attest to how infectious and fun aguinaldos, parrandas, trullas, o asaltos are. Surely, the rest of our Latin American familia have similar traditions to share.

It does not take much for a parranda to kick off. If no instruments are handy just grab some pots and pans or anything that would make noise, burst out those traditional songs and take to the streets of el barrio. The neighbors are sure to join in. Then do the “asalto” at any closed door to see how long it takes for that neighbor to come out. All the while singing and celebrating the fusion of our European, Native and African blood.

Then we also have villancicos that some say  originated in Spain in the XV century and are our version of Christmas carols. Villancicos, unlike parrandas, typically involve choirs and have a more religious overtone.

Lastly, cannot forget the traditional misa de gallo or midnight mass, which was a must for our family after “noche buena.”  The Christmas holiday season perfectly incorporates pagan and religious traditions that prompts us to be more neighborly and charitable towards each other.

And so it goes that “parrandas” mark the start of festivities through “el Dia de Reyes” or Three Kings Day. In any event, we just wanted to wish you a wonderful Navidad y Noche Buena! Here are some of our favorite aguinaldos, asaltos, parrandas o trullas. 

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Pa’lante Latino showcases current events in the arts, entertainment, politics, and culture as it affects our community. Above all, we are ferocious advocates of the contributions that Hispanics/Latinos have made to the United States and feature articles based on historical facts to reaffirm our relevance.Please feel free to email us at info@palantelatino.com.
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One Response to “Asaltados, Aguinaldos, Parrandas y Trullas – A Latin American Christmas Tradition”

  1. Carlos Carrion Acevedo Reply December 22, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    While I find it interesting to identify one’s self with such a generic label as ‘Latino’ and I do see a general overarching cultural similarity between the huge diversity within the cultural products made in Latin America, the most proper way to refer to the vast differences between each latin american culture is by making direct references to the national cultures which comprise any given cultural product or habitus. As an islander Puertorican that does not have to resort to the Anglo sphere’s social categories that artificially seems to homogenize the heterogeneous, I would tend to think that if this blog intends to reach Latin Americans without the influence of false ethnic and racial categories such as Latino or Hispanic, it must necessarily assume the complexity of our heterogeneity and refer to each of us and our cultural products by nationality in order to have a better method to differentiate what is, in effect, different. I do not blame you for identifying with such labels since you were probably born in the states and while more and more people on the island identify with such labels, it is undoubtedly by way of the anglo sphere’s influence. Outside the States and Puerto Rico it is very seldomly used, it is my impression that within Latin America people do not identify with said labels, only by nationality. It is only logical since not only do our genetic profiles vary at the intra-national level from family to family and from region to region but also our cultural products vary from country to country. If by Latin Music or Latino what is meant is strictly a loose term that signifies a shared language then it is not incorrect. However, if it implies a general ”latino” culture, or if it is understood as a reference to an ”ethnicity” then it is a plain vulgarism which no academia will seriously consider as such.

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