Parang season begins

Los Parranderos de UWI at rehearsal for the upcoming parang season.

Photo David Wears

Just as they wake up neighbours with a rousing “levanta, levanta” in celebration of Christmas, parranderos will tomorrow greet the new parang season armed with their aguinaldos, serenals, nacimientos and guaraps.

The opening of the festival takes place at the National Parang Association headquarters, was launched at the O’Meara Road, Arima. After months on the parang trail, groups will compete for the national title on December 18 at the same venue.

The strumming of cuatros and guitars and the high-pitch strain of mandolins are harbingers of the festive season that announce the birth of Christ.

They also bring the delectable aromas of geera pork, ham, arepas, pastelles. Christmas is in the air and very soon, it will be here.

The history of parang has two stories. The first began centuries ago when the Capuchin monks of Spain, with guitars and cuatros, sang of the story of Christ to the Amerindians they were trying to convert.

Then there are the Venezuelans who to came to Trinidad to work the cocoa plantations (hence the name cocopagnyols).

They brought with them their instruments native to their homeland.

But they were also homesick for their tradition at Christmas, so from house to house they sang, played, drank and ate.

In Spanish, that meant “parar” or “parandear.” Translated into English, it means “to spree” or the local concoction - parang.

Most songs, like in the tradition of Spain, sing about announciation made by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary (anunciacion) and the birth of Christ in a manger (nacimiento).

Then like the Venezuelans, parranderos sing of the festive side with a zesty guarap (a trade of words) or encourage couples to dance to a romantic castillan.

Even songs such as Rio Mazanares and Sabaneando have become stalwart selections although their roots are ‘from the main.’

Nevertheless, the throaty baritone of Tito Lara and the well-loved lilting voice of the deceased Daisy Voisin, are reminders that this tradition is ours.

Parang has evolved into a part of life that is intrinsically Trini.

When: Tomorrow

What: South launch

Where: Siparia—Siparia Sports Complex

When: October 9

Where: Lopinot Basketball Court

When: October 16

Where: Chaguanas Senior Comprehensive

When: October 23

Where: San Raphael Parish Hall

When: October 30

Where: St Joseph Maracas Community Centre

When: November 6

Where: Nestle’s Compound

When: November 13

Where: Tabaquite Senior Comprehensive

When: November 20

Where: Lopinot Basketball Court

When: November 27

Where: St Joseph Maracas Community Centre

When: December 4

What: Semi final #1

Where: National Flour Mills, Port-of-Spain

When: December 11

What: Semi final # 2

Where: National Flour Mills, Port-of-Spain

When: December 18

What: Finals

Where: Parang Headquarters, O’Meara Rd, Arima

When: January 5

Where: Lewah Maracas, St Joseph RC Church, Maracas



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