Since I arrived in Trinidad, people were telling me how much fun Christmas would be, and I chose a good time of year to come etc. They explanied to me that around Christmas time, people do something called ‘parang’ which means to go from house to house eating and drinking and liming (liming = hanging out). Parang is also the name for the genre of Trini Christmas music.
Paranging sounded fun, but I still didn’t really know what to expect. On Christmas morning I went to Marac beach with Franziska and Marcus, two of the other travelers. We brought a bottle of ‘ganja wine’ with us which was given to us by a local guy who makes lots of different wines at his house.
We spent the morning there and then went to ‘parang’ with Noriga. Noriga is the farm owner, so basically my Trini parent:
As promised, there was plenty of food and alcohol at each house, and there was basically an open door policy, so someone from each household stays at home and hosts, while everyone else is free to go and parang. I guess they swap roles during the night. When you go into a house, there are already some people there, and people come and go while you’re there.
There are nuts, drinks and ice on the table and you can help yourself, and if you want, the host will bring you a big plate of food from the kitchen. I’m pretty sure I ate about three meals in the space of a few hours.
Nothing much happens while you’re there… You just listen to music and talk, but I felt very welcome even though these people had never met me before.
That evening, I went with Marcus and Franziska to St. Mary’s (a village about half an hour from where I stay) which is where Giselle (Noriga’s daughter who’s about 30) lives. She took us to parang in her area and we went to about seven different houses. This is me, Giselle and Franziska.
It was fun to meet so many different people in one night, and again I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the hosts felt with just having their doors open and having so many people, some of which they probably didn’t know that well, making themselves at home in their houses.
Apparently the ‘paranging’ will continue until New Years!