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Festivities in Cuba

Get to really know the charming Cuban culture through the most iconic festivals of this island.

Festivities in Cuba

Cuba is a varied country with many traditions and, despite facing harsh economic challenges, tries to keep alive the most characteristic folklore of the island.

Among the many farming, patronal, “parrandas” or carnival festivities, you can find traits of Hispanic and Canarian heritage such as the Fiesta del Fuego (Fire Festivity), celebrated in rural areas and where parochial music predominates. Something similar is the “changüí” held in the Guanáanamo region.

The well known “fiestas de bandos” (Bands festivities) are named differently depending on the area and are based on the celebration of several events such as tricks with horses, “palo ensebado,” etc.

Among the carnival celebrations, with hispanic antecedents, you can find the most relevant in Santiago de Cuba, with important French influences from Haití; La Havana, also in July, and Camagüey.

Above all, the festivities that you should miss are the most iconic ones, held in December, and called “parrandas y charangas,” sharing some similarities with Carnivals. the most popular ones are those in Remedios, in the region of Villa Clara; Bejucal, in La Havana, the ones in Sancti Spiritis, and the ones from Ciego de Ávila. The most interesting fact is that different neighbourhoods vie through music, float building, and fireworks.

Due to the cultural mixing in the area, besides the festivities with a marked African origin, you can also find other with roots in Haiti, such as the Bande-Rará and the Fiestas a los Loás. Other internationally renowned Cuba celebrations are the ones linked to Santería, mixing music, dancing, and religion.

Yet, Carnivals, besides the Hispanic origins, are the most important representation of Cuba folklore. Despite being the ones in La Havana, Camagüey, and Santiago de Cuba the most important; year-round, parades are organized that maintain alive the music, dancing, and Cuban traditions.

Other important festivities are held coinciding with important dates in Cuban history, such as Independence Day on May 20th, and its Liberation in January 1st, the “Día del Trabajo” on May 1st, or the National Rebellion Day, between the 25th and 27th of July.

On the other hand, one of the events no tourist should miss, and that boasts international renown, besides the jazz, bolero, and arts festivals; is the International Ballet Festival held in La Havana every two years during October. Having been established in 1960 thanks to the work by the General Director of the National Ballet Company, Alicia Campo, and Fernando Alonso; it is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world, and essential part of Cuba’s culture.

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