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While in past years, Taller's Parranda was celebrated in person. This year, it will be virtual. Photo: AL DÍA News. 
While in past years, Taller's Parranda was celebrated in person. This year, it will be virtual. Photo: AL DÍA News. 

Taller Puertorriqueño’s annual Parranda celebration goes virtual, recognizes resilience

The theme of this year’s virtual ceremony taking place on Dec. 4 is ‘A pesar de los pesares’ (‘Despite it all’).

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For the last 22 years, Taller Puertorriqueño has brought the Puerto Rican tradition of Parrandas to Kensington during the holiday season. 

The practice is most similar to Christmas caroling in the Anglo world, but is much more spontaneous. In addition to the songs played on traditional Puerto Rican instruments, food and drink native to the island is also served at the celebrations. 

It also shares similarities with Las Posadas in Central America.

Historically, Parrandas are born from the customs of jíbaros, or the farm workers from Puerto Rico’s countryside and involved visiting friends and family at their homes in the late evening or early hours of the morning.

In 2020, the celebrations can not take their traditional form thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Taller’s celebration this year is no different.

The gathering organized for Dec. 4 will be completely virtual and held through Zoom. In recognition of the difficult year it has been, the theme of the celebration is ‘A pesar de los pesares’ (‘Despite it all’). 

It both reflects on the dark year it has been for many across Philadelphia and the country, and celebrates the resilience of organizations like Taller and the communities they serve. 

“Celebrate our collective resilience, our fortitude, and our hard work during the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown and beyond. We remember those who have experienced loss and sing for those heroes who carry us through,” wrote Taller in a press release about the upcoming virtual celebration.

One of those heroes throughout the years that will be honored on Dec. 4 is Rafaela Colón. 

She is one of the co-founders of Taller, and throughout its 40-plus-year history has done everything from managing its graphic design and print workshop in the early days to expanding the reach of the organization to include more of Philadelphia’s Latino communities.

Colón’s efforts have also gone towards developing the political identity of Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community.

The music this year will be provided by Irvin y Cuatro-son.

Taller Puertorriqueño’s Parranda will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 4. 

Tickets to the virtual celebration are $25 per household that wants to tune in, with an option to add an additional household for $15.

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