Parrandas are as essential to Christmas in Puerto Rico as lechón asao. But unless you're from the island and were born with a pandereta in hand, the concept can be hard to grasp. In fact, when broken down into 5 steps, the whole thing sounds like a medieval pillage story. Here's why:
1. You show up at someone's house in the middle of the night and yell "asalto" (which translates to assault, attack or robbery).
2. You sing as loud as possible until you wake them up - these people had no idea you were coming.
3. Once you're in the home you drink their liquor and eat their food.
4. When food and liquor have been depleted, you move on to the next home.
5. The last home you visit before sunrise must serve asopao.
Yup, this all sounds very strange to non-Boricua ears. The truth is that you can only understand parranda when you experience parranda. Lucky for you, they're in season! Here's a taste of our odd and super fun tradition. This one formed itself when a bunch of people were stuck in the main stadium in San Juan due to a huge rain storm. In case you needed evidence that Puerto Ricans are the most fun people in the world....