Never know how to have fun, as in Cuba. Despite the fact that Cubans live by world standards very poor and socialism (and not Swedish socialism), they do not become discouraged, do not lose heart and not moping, but continue to go forward: someone to eternal communism, someone to a bright future, someone to his dream about freedom and democracy. But all together the Cubans are one big, very happy smile, kind eyes and an open heart.
I want to tell You about Cuban carnivals. They are not as famous as, say Brazilian carnival or the Venetian, but they exist and are not less interesting!
With my own eyes I saw only the modern carnival in Havana. In the memoirs excerpts: huge decorated platform, glowing from the many lights, the famous promenade of the Cuban capital, the Malecon, smelling of squid, and, of course, black the crowds. The feeling that you see something big, something that previously kept so close.
Despite the fact that Cuba is an island not very big, there is more than one carnival. The most famous is the carnival in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Also arranged a carnival in Varadero, in Camaguey and many other cities.
Its origins carnivals take, first, in pagan beliefs settled in Cuba of African descent, who managed to preserve their religion and culture, and secondly, in some of the Catholic festivities brought by the Spaniards, the French, and partly in the Asian tradition.
Initially, the celebrations were held in honor of Catholic saints: San Juan and San Pedro, San Cristobal (“San” is Spanish for “Holy”). So, it is worth to remember and about the true Spanish feast in honor of the Kings, which is celebrated on 6 January. On this day, white, privileged, the population organized a family celebration, and black slaves belonging to different African ethnic groups, chose their representatives, who were on the main city streets towards the governmental residence, dancing and loud chanting their traditional songs. It is believed that they, therefore, asked for gifts from the Governor of the city, and not to be left unnoticed, moreover, to stand out among the rest, they eventually began to wear festive clothes, colorful costumes and decorations.
White Cubans celebrated their holidays in a more restrained, sometimes walking through the streets of the city. These holidays were not as fun and often was allowed only up to the time of the evening prayer.
The first mention of dancing at the carnival refers to 1833. It masquerades were held in salons and theatres of Havana. The celebration included a walk through the main avenues of the city. Women rode in decorated with flower garlands carriages, and men dressed, usually in costumes rode on horseback or walked. Demonstrators threw confetti, streamers, and flowers. Later came the jury, which was awarded the best crews.
In 1902, the municipal authorities of the capital have issued a mandate designed to regulate the conduct of the carnival. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the carnival became a commercial sense. Platforms, carriages, giant puppets been an excellent media of advertising. Indispensable participants of all carnivals and celebrations were the so-called “comparsa” – masquerade groups representing one area of the city, accompanying his crew. Many companies sponsored comparsi, working thus on its image. In the period of the Republic (1902 to 1959) Cuba has actually become a “semi-colony” of the United States, and carnivals turned into a performance for American tourists.
After the revolution, carnivals acquired absolutely unprecedented revolutionary socialist tinge. If before comparsa was created by belonging to the areas, now the carnival was similar to our Soviet may day, when people presented their companies and syndicates. However, in 60-70 years, the carnival reached its climax, but after slowly came to naught. The reason for this was no ordinary creative approach to creating your presentation, preparing their dancers and costumes for them.
The carnival was cancelled, revived, tried to change, but people still cling to the roots, and even tourists. The carnival is a magical act. It includes not only the main carnival procession, but also many other events: competitions, concerts, dances, performances. Despite the fact that all Cuban carnivals are different from one another, they have common elements:
Comparsas – as I said, this group of dancing people, representing their district. They were formally recognized as part of the carnival in 1937, but, in fact, they are the basis of all the traditional holidays. For dancers comparsa rhythm discourage musicians belonging to the same group. They are used such instruments as trumpet, viola, and tumbadora, fallout, KINTO, caseros, which sets the rhythm. Each of comparsa has its own name: “Los payasos” (clowns), “Las boleras”, “La Sultana” (Sultana), “Los faraones” (the pharaohs), “El alacran” (Scorpio).
Farolas – in this case, it is a very big street “lantern”, which is mounted on a wooden stick. Parole are men. This is a very responsible and hard work. Color Farolas has a certain value. For example red, stylized rooster, addressed to the African deity Chango, blue with a black doll to IEMA, white paroly white dove facing Obatala, and yellow with a peacock – to Ochun.
Generally at carnivals a lot of light and lights. Because each platform (Carros) is lit with hundreds of lights. Not to mention the fireworks.
And, of course, in the carnival procession attended by the most beautiful girl, the so-called “reinas” – Queen. They welcome the audience, waving his hand and give her a smile. Together with the Queen on platforms dancing girls in costumes, which have spent a minimum of fabric and effort.
Carnival procession ends late at night (or rather early morning) General fun and dancing.
Carnival in Havana designed so that the audience will follow the performance on installed on both sides of the Malecon stands, while the carnival in Santiago de Cuba involves the whole city and come to the carnival guests in the procession. These carnivals are held in the month of July, although the capital has historically always held in February. There is a carnival in Varadero. It is aimed more at tourists who participate in the procession, representing this or that hotel. This carnival starts on the second Monday of January and lasts until the second Sunday of February.
The total of all carnivals one – they are very cheerful and colorful. The carnival is one common holiday. To him in a long time preparing hundreds of participants, and wait for this holiday millions of viewers.