Year-end traditions: Dande, cleansing, pagara and Champagne PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 31 December 2012 10:09
As the end of the year approaches, everyone is preparing their resolutions and wishes, their wardrobe, food and beverage, their homes and workplace. New Year's traditions on Aruba involve an entire checklist and even our own traditional music. Wardrobe:One shall wear only everything brand new from underwear to shoes and accessories.
The color of the undies is yellow and they are worn inside-out. The home: The home is cleaned, mopped (often with some concoction available at a botica or botanica) and incense is burned throughout, sometimes accompanied by a special, traditional prayer, sometimes wishes are uttered, while some prefer to carry out this ritual in silence, reflecting on the old year and what is to come. Workplace: An incense ritual, similar to that off the home is carried out. Home and workplace: Doors and windows are opened, even cars, to welcome the smoke of the pagara, which travels throughout pushing out the "fucu" or bad/negative vibes. Often people stand in the path of the smoke as well. As the smoke takes along all the negative, it leaves the house/business/person open for the positive. The pagara, or firecracker string is lit earlier during the day or on the last day of the year that the business is open and at the home it is lit at midnight. Dande: In the old days an Aruban family would not leave their home on New Year's Day until the Dande had passed by with their wishes for the home. The strolling musicians in their song ask permission to enter the premises and then proceed to sing special wishes to the family and friends present.
General wishes are sung, as well as "customized" wishes, all ending with the chant "Ay Nobe!" The main singer passes around with a hat, in which those he is singing to will drop a tip. Usually after the dande is sung, the musicians receive something to drink and will on occasion even gladly accept a snack to eat. Much of the Dande tradition has moved out of the home, as neighborhoods have changed, families no longer have the tradition of living in clusters together and people are working longer hours. Most people will receive their blessings at work or at a get together. As for Champagne; it is served chilled and at any occasion, but is certainly a "must" at midnight. If visiting an Aruban family, you might be offered one or both local drinks ponche crema (delicious home made, spiked eggnog) and/or coecoei. Take a sip and enjoy!
Happy New Year!
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