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Unique Traditions Bring in the New Year

Today welcoming in the New Year with free champagne, fireworks and glitter may seem interesting but listen to this interesting and unique tradition of the 1950’s to welcome in the New Year.

The dances started at 8 o’clock on the dot and that seemed a bit too late as the guys were waiting for the young ladies to appear from around the bend of the Catholic Church and around the Central Park accompanied by their chaperones, mom or auntie.

The single people danced at Daddy’s Club, now Big Daddy’s. The married couples danced at what was called “El Baile de Los Viejos”(Dance of the Old People) usually held at Tio Pil’s house or whoever offered his house for a dance hall.

Interestingly enough everyone attended the dance in regular or old clothing to signify the last day of the year or Año Viejo. At eleven thirty p.m. the church bell would ring and everyone went home to put on brand new clothing. The men put on their black pants and white shirt with long sleeves and a white handkerchief neatly folded and sticking out from the back pocket of the trousers.

Everyone attended mass in their new clothing and at the end of mass everyone wished one another Feliz Año Nuevo. The dances continued from 1 a.m. to sunrise and usually the married couples went on until 9 a.m.

Just at dawn coffee and sweet biscuits were served so that the ladies would have energy to continue. The fun ended when the men were either too drunk to keep on going or the musicians were using their guitars or accordion as their pillows. It was a new year and everyone had seen the first sunrise but were now too tired to see the rest of the day, so San Pedro went back to be the quiet and sleeping village that characterized it 25 years ago.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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