The last Friday before Christmas and today’s Show & tell theme is Christmas traditions, as chosen by Mia.
O and I haven’t had time yet to create our own holiday traditions as this will only be our second Christmas that we will celebrate together. However, I am sure that we will make a nice intercultural mix of Swedish and Spanish traditions, just like last year. We have been invited to celebrate Nochebuena (Christmas Eve / Julafton) with my Spanish teacher’s family and we are very much looking forward to experiencing the local traditions.
My idea for today’s post was to take the opportunity to remind you of some of the local Christmas traditions – I already wrote a post about the Puerto Rican Christmas traditions last year, but here is a short summary of the highlights:
- Parrandas / parandas (I have seen both spellings) are an integral part of celebrating navidad in Puerto Rico. A group of people play and sing Christmas songs while everybody claps their hands and maybe play the maracas (native instruments from Puerto Rico). Traditionally the parranda groups would go from house to house in the countryside and sing and play while being offered food and drinks. We had our first parranda for the season last week at a company Christmas event at the Hotel Normandie – they handed out mini-maracas with the company logo and somehow we came home with 4 🙂 A parranda set consists of maracas, güiro (I think we call it gurka (cucumber) in Swedish!?), tambourine and palitos (two wooden sticks) – we already have two sets at home.
- Coquito – Puerto Rican egg nog with coconut milk and rum. Our neighbours brought us a bottle of home-made chocolate coquito for our Christmas fika last Sunday, yummy! We also got two bottles of home-made glögg from one of our Swedish guests… so we are all set for a Puerto Rican / Swedish Christmas!
- Lechón asado – traditionally Puerto Ricans eat a lot of pollo but at Christmas the chicken is replaced by roasted pork. And yes, we have already had lechón twice this season!
- Tembleque is a typical Christmas dessert, a coconut pudding that got its name from the way it “jiggles”, just like a jelly (tembleque = shaking fit).
- El día de reyes or the Three Kings’ day (De 3 vise männen) is celebrated on Epiphany (Trettondagen), traditionally the day of receiving gifts in Spain. The Puerto Rican custom is that children put a box with grass under their beds on la víspera de reyes (12th Night / Trettondagsafton), and during the night the kings with their camels (hence the grass) will bring gifts. I asked the students at the Alliance Francaise Christmas party a few weeks ago about the tradition and some of them said that they only get presents for Christmas, some only for Epiphany and some on both occasions!
- Felicidades is the holiday greeting! Last year I thought that people were congratulating us for some reason, before I realised that it was instead of saying Feliz navidad, ha ha!
- Pascua is the Spanish word for Poin(t)settia (julstjärna) and is a Christmas flower here, just like in many other countries around the world. Pascuas is also another word for Christmas, which confusingly means Easter in singular. So Feliz Navidad / Feliz Pascuas / Felicidades are all valid greetings at this time of the year!
A Puerto Rican parranda
Read more about last year’s Christmas experiences in Puerto Rico under the category Christmas in the Caribbean. I will report back next week on this year’s Christmas celebrations!
Sometimes the decoration doesn’t look very professional… and in daylight just tacky!
If you are curious about other Christmas traditions, here are the Show & Tell participants:
Anki, Anne, Annika, Cecilia, Desiree, Erica, IngaBritt, Jemaya, Lena, Leopardia, Lia, Mais-oui, Marianne, Marie, Marina, Mia, Mia D, Millan, Nilla, Petra C, Petra H, Saltis, Simone, Strandmamman, and Victoria.