A part of me would like to say that I was partying the night away dressed in a slinky cowl neck midi dress with matching heels when the clock struck 12AM ringing in 2017 but no, I wasn’t. I was asleep.
MJ had stayed awake with the guise that he was so cool he was going to watch the New Year’s festivities on TV but in reality, I’m pretty sure he was just doing work. He had asked me if I wanted him to wake me up before midnight approached. I gave him a resounding “hell no.” If I’m asleep, let me sleep.
But the fireworks in the far distance of our town woke me up at midnight. I got up to use the toilet and said Happy New Year to my husband. We kissed. He came to bed and we rolled over and fell asleep.
Boy have times have changed.
While the New Year’s Eve thing was never my scene, I gave it a go a couple of times. I was stuck in the middle of more stylish than me Drag Queens in Times Square trying to make my way back to the Lincoln Tunnel to get home once from a party when a new year came upon us.
Another time, we had just left a party and ended up in Tick Tock Diner having burgers and fries when another year rolled on in.
But most of my New Year’s Eve while growing up were spent with family. My very Puerto-Rican family. My very loud Puerto-Rican family. So what did a Puerto-Rican New Year’s Eve gathering looked like?
The word literally means assaults. So Parrandas were makeshift musical assaults. A group of people in your gathering would magically pull out one of nine musical instruments out of thin air. I never saw anyone walk in with one but they always had them hiding somewhere on them. Some people do a quarter behind the ear trick, Puerto-Ricans do a tambourine behind the ear trick. Once they had one too many coquitos (the PR version of eggnog) the “band” would gather to play and sing and everyone, whether they were musically inclined or not, joined in!
It was absolutely weird but great fun.
Then when the clock struck 12 everyone would run out into the street with pots and pans and make a lot of noise. Yes, you read that correctly, you literally got a pot or pan with a large spoon (preferably all clean ones) and bang the hell out of it while screaming out at the top of your lungs Happy New Year or ¡Feliz año nuevo!. I did tell you my family was loud.
Then there would be a round of kissing people and almost always someone would start crying and the rest would join in the drunken I love you, man, it’ll be alright, it’s a new year, don’t cry chorus.
My only regret is that MJ never experienced a traditional Puerto-Rican NYE. He knows my family is loud. He sees it with our children now. He has had the yummy deliciousness we call food and would love to eat that more often than provided. And I made an attempt at coquito last Christmas! But he missed out on the parranda and the pots and pans. He even missed out on the awkward hugs and kisses and drunken terms of endearment.
We’ll have to visit NJ one year during the holidays so he could get a taste of it or I can start it here. Not sure how the neighbours would go with the pots and pans and the random hug and kiss. I’ll keep you updated.
Tags: 2017, Australian New Year's eve, banging on pots and pans, coquito, drunken chorus, Feliz Ano Nuevo, Happy New Year, I was not partying I was sleeping, magical instruments, memories of drag queens in Times Square, musical festivities, my family is weird, my very loud family, New Year's Eve, old me vs new me, parranda, Puerto Rican band, Puerto Rican in Australia, Puerto Rican version of eggnog, Puerto Ricans know how to throw a party, scare away the evil spirits, Tick Tock has the best burgers and fries, very superstitious, wake up the neighbours, what will the neighbours think?, work on NYE