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Celebrating Tradition & Encouraging Success

A group of about 20 people singing, clapping, and wearing straw hats.

Celebrating the Holidays with a Puerto Rican tradition: Una Parranda

The three local mill cities: Haverhill, Lowell, and Lawrence have been shaped and influenced by the numerous immigrants who arrived to our busy streets and called it home. One can see and experience the various cultures through local restaurants, festivals, and cultural events. March is dedicated to our Irish men and women whose ancestors built the mills, canals, and roads that gave our mill cities life. Lowell, home to the highest population of Cambodians in the country, celebrates its robust Asian community with the annual Southeast Asian Water Festival, and the local Italian community celebrates their heritage at Lawrence’s Feast of the Three Saints, which will enjoy its 92nd year in 2015.

More recently, Latino communities are also joining in the celebration of heritage and tradition. Like other cultures, the sense of belonging is crucial in the assimilation process and staying connected to their rituals, music, and food helps with feeling connected to their new home. Locally, Hispanic Week in mid-June serves as the days we celebrate Latinos at the Lawrence Campagnone Common Park, which has been the site since 1979. Nationally, Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15th to October 15th and through different mediums, we observe and acknowledge the multiple contributions of our Latino brothers and sisters.   

Two students on the El Hefni rooftop.

Two students on the El Hefni rooftop.

The band Los Sugar Kings on the NECC El Hefni Building Rooftop.

Los Sugar Kings on the NECC Rooftop.
The band performs with St. Mary’s Church in the background. The Church has served as a safe haven for thousands of Catholic immigrants since the 19th Century.

At NECC, we cherish the moment to engage our diverse students with the celebration of their tradition. In September, the Latin-fusion band Los Sugar Kings performed on the rooftop of the new El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology building, overlooking the entire city of Lawrence. In December, NECC students, staff, and local musicians  marched through every building on the Lawrence Campus and blessed everyone with Puerto Rican Christmas carols. The Parranda has been historically used to spread the Christmas spirit and greet friends and family.