Cuba is definitely a world all its own, and its friendly people are helping to give it an identity as a prime vacation spot. Deciding when to go to Cuba can depend on a bunch of variables, and once you get there, you will have plenty of worthy attractions to keep you both interested and occupied. If you want the chance to experience an authentic slice of Cuban life, then planning your trip to include Cuban events and festivals might be your top priority. Cuba is alive and well, it's natives embracing a life that, while not seemingly ideal, is nonetheless very rich and full. Cuban traditions have a lot to do with Cuban history, and taking part in any number of Cuban holidays can help you to gain some added perspective on Cuban life.
As far as Cuban holidays are concerned, the national
ones are fairly few and far between. Christmas is
the only one of the government-recognized religious Cuba
holidays, but there are a handful of official Cuban
holidays that may interest you. Socialist holidays
like the May 1 Día de los Trabajadores (Day of
the Workers) and the July 26 Day of the National Rebellion
can be of particular interest for those intrigued by Cuba's
Communist stance. On January 28, Cubans celebrate
the birth of national hero José Martí, and
October 8 is reserved to honor the death of Ernesto Che
Guevara. If you are in Cuba on April 19, the country
will be observing the anniversary of their historic victory
at the Bay of Pigs. If you want Cuban events with
a little more fanfare, you can always come during Carnival.
Like most of the notable Cuban events, Carnival is best observed in Havana. Every year in August, parades move down the city's famous Malecon oceanfront walkway, and you can expect a lot of song and dance to fill the air. Fireworks are common, as is flowing Cuban beer and rum. People dancing Conga display the country's rich Afro-Cuban traditions, and it's quite a sight to see. Cuba's burgeoning tourism industry is helping to fuel Cuba festivals like Carnival, making a Cuba vacation even that much more rewarding. Music-lovers will not want to miss the chance to visit Havana during what is arguably one of the best Cuba festivals. The Havana Jazz Festival, which runs during most of February, sees nightly live music performances as clubs and venues around the city. It's definitely the best time to be in Havana if you know and like Cuban music. Various other Cuban festivals find their settings to also be the country's capital, so you might want to see what upcoming Cuban events are taking place during your vacation.
In Cuba's second-largest city, Santiago
de Cuba, the Fiesta del Fuego is a free, week-long
street party that sure knows how to kick it up a notch.
Much like Carnival, music and dance are key components
to this raucous affair, and you definitely will have no
problems finding a glass of rum should you need to kick
it up a notch yourself. The celebrations for this
worthy contender for most festive of Cuba holidays start
in the day time, lasting long into the wee morning hours.
In the Cuban city of Trinidad,
the Trinidad Way of the Cross Procession is celebrated,
which shows that the country is loosening its grip over
the defiance of such religious celebrations. Taking
place every year in March, this once controversial entry
among Cuban traditions centers around a procession in
which Catholics follow specific routes, honoring the walk
that Jesus took to his crucifixion. For those who
want an interesting take on Cuban fishing, we look back
to Havana, where come the end of May, early June, the
International Hemingway Fishing Tournament is on at the
city's Marina Hemingway. Supposedly, Hemingway
himself started this entry among Cuban events himself,
back around 1950.
Cuban events don't have to necessarily be linked to any special Cuban holidays. For instance, every weekend in Havana, the Gran Teatro de La Habana puts on ballet and opera performances, and every day but Monday, the city's hot Tropicana Cabaret features its renowned show. Cities around the country are mostly known to have their own music houses where live performances can often be enjoyed, and there's never telling when an impromptu event or celebration might spring up, wherever you might find yourself. If you are truly lucky when visiting Cuba, you will befriend some locals who will invite you to what might be the most intimate of Cuban traditions. House parties in Cuba can be amazingly-enjoyable affairs, often featuring roasted meats, beer and rum, not to mention plenty of Salsa and Conga dancing. Hopefully, when you decide to take your Cuba vacation, you can align it with one of the Cuba festivals or events. It should only serve to make for a better overall experience in this most intriguing island nation.