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15th Annual Parranda celebrates end of fall semester


The interior of Mathers Museum of World Cultures is seen Dec. 8. Since 2004, the Christmas celebration has been organized by the Latino Graduate Student Association and La Casa Latino Cultural Center. Karen Cheng

In Spanish, the verb “parrandear” generally means to go out and enjoy yourself. It comes from the noun “parranda,” which can be a celebration or a party with dancing, food and friends.

Bloomington residents gathered for the annual Parranda celebration, which started in 2004, from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures . The Latino Graduate Student Association organized the event with the La Casa Latino Cultural Center and the Latino Faculty & Staff Council.

Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, a law professor at IU, said this event helps bring together Bloomington’s Latino community, whether or not people are affiliated with the university.

“The parranda brings people together from the university and the Latino community at large to celebrate the end of the year,” Fuentes-Rohwer said.

Javier Leon, director of the Latin American Music Center at the Jacobs School of Music, said “It implies ‘party’ or ‘celebration. It's a way of being open to all different kinds of Latinos who will recognize the name 'parranda.'"

In places such as Puerto Rico, a Parranda is a key Christmastime tradition similar to caroling. The celebration is not characterized by any religion or border. Rather, it brings together traditions from multiple Latin American countries.

About 100 IU students, faculty, Bloomington residents and children attended the event. Sitting at long tables eating Puerto Rican-style rice and beans, tamales and “pan dulce” or sweet bread, the audience sang and clapped along to familiar Mariachi songs.

Mariachi group, Mariachi Perla del Medio Oeste, performed at the Parranda. The group's lead singer is a dancer at the Ballet Folklórico de IU, which also performed at the event. The Mariachi Perla is a student volunteer group sponsored by the Latin American Music Center, La Casa and the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology.

The Ballet Folklórico de IU performs folk dances native to different Latin American countries.

León said the value of performance and music from different countries in this event.

“The idea is to showcase the diversity and variety of Latino expressions,” León said.

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