Songs and singing are very popular at Christmas time in Puerto Rico. People like to carol singing, known as Parrandas (also sometimes called Asalto or Trulla). Friends gather late in the evening (about 10pm) and visit different houses. People are meant to be surprised and woken up by the music and singing of the ‘parranderos’ (those taking part in the ‘parranda’), although most people have ‘arranged’ that they will be visited; because the custom is that when you’ve been ‘woken up’ you have to join in the parranda so it grows during the evening as more party go-ers join in! The fun can last all night, finishing at dawn! Christmas Eve is known as ‘Nochebuena’. The main celebrations and Christmas meal happen on Nochebuena. Christmas Day (‘Navidad’) is the day that you recover from the Nochebuena! For more click here.
The team was able to enjoy some of the Christmas traditions on the island, before returning home to enjoy their own traditions during their short holiday vacation with their loved ones. This year’s Christmas season was special for the Abante family for many reasons, but as far as special memories is concerned, the team will always remember having their own Abante Christmas morning experience, compliments of colleagues Antoine and Louisiana Michel from France.
The team had been experiencing some homesickness, as the holidays were rolling in, and although they would celebrate Christmas at home, there was a hollow feeling all the colleagues not being able to be together at such a special time. The Michels went all out! First, they prepared a special Christmas themed breakfast, they bought a Christmas tree (yes, Abante International now has its own Christmas tree!), they bought gifts for every colleague and placed under the tree, they brought ornaments for the colleagues to sign and decorate the tree with, they had Christmas music playing, and even a mock-fireplace simulation playing on the television.
Early that day, when the colleagues were welcomed in the family room, it truly felt like Christmas morning! Tears of joy were shed, carols were sung, food was devoured, the Christmas story was read, and lots of selfies were taken! The best part of the experience was the love shared by everyone. Every country and household celebrates the holidays differently. But one thing should never change, that the birth of Jesus– the Savior, which brought joy to the world more than two thousand years ago, can still bring joy to the world today.
Merry Christmas from the Abante family!