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Long Island families can join in a traditional Latino holiday caroling event

The "Parranda Navideña with a Twist" kicks off in Brentwood.

Latino traditions and culture were on display at the “Parranda Navideña with a Twist” — a holiday caroling event featuring Latino Christmas music — which started on Sunday in Brentwood and will travel throughout the Island. A traditional Parranda Navideña involves musicians traveling from home to home, and gathering participants along the way. (Credit: Newsday / Shelby Knowles)

Families can join in Latino traditions and culture at the “Parranda Navideña with a Twist” — a holiday caroling event featuring Latino Christmas music — starting at 1 p.m. Sunday in Brentwood.

“We are taking this opportunity to share culture and traditions with families on Long Island who want to enjoy the Latino culture and kick off the holiday season in the way some Latinos do,” says Dorothy Santana of North Babylon, founder of the Latina Moms of Long Island. Her group is partnering on the event with the Brentwood-based Puerto Rican Coalition for a Better Community.

The traditional Parranda Navideña involves musicians traveling from home to home. At each stop, they play until the homeowner opens the door and invites them in to share food and drink, Santana says. Then, that family joins the crowd to travel to the next house. “They just make it a big party that keeps going and going and going,” Santana says. “It’s really a beautiful experience.”

The twist on this event is that while the Parranda Navideña typically is at night, this one is in the afternoon. It will kick off at the Brentwood Long Island Rail Road parking lot at 1 p.m. And, instead of going house to house, the performers will make five stops that also include a nursing home and a Mexican restaurant; the final stop is at Escorza’s Mexican Restaurant at 3463 Merrick Rd. in Wantagh .

The organizers did such a Parranda Navideña in 2015 and decided to bring it back again this year, Santana says. The Island Empanada food truck will be donating empanadas to participants and seniors at the Ross Nursing Home, which will be the group’s first stop, Santana says.  

Participating is free, but organizers are asking for donations of a $25 teen-appropriate gift card – for instance, to McDonald’s, movies, iTunes etc. — to be given to young people in need at Christmas.  For more information, visit the Latina Moms of Long Island Facebook page or call 631-575-7505 .

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