December has arrived and, with it, the holiday season. This is a lovely time to visit Cuba—still warm enough to go to the beach and packed with cultural events.
For Cubans, Christmas is all about family and friends, a time to celebrate life with good food and good music. It is largely free from the mass consumerist binge elsewhere and arguably truer to the roots of familial solidarity. Although it is largely a low-key event, two towns in Cuba celebrate the holiday season in a really big way: the Parrandas de Remedios and the Charangas de Bejucal, famous for their carnivals featuring elaborate oats and rework displays. Several articles in this issue shed light on how Cubans have celebrated the holiday season throughout time. We have also included a piece on the Pilgrimage to Rincón for the feast of San Lázaro on December 17, a fascinating fusion of Afro-Cuban Santeria with the Catholic Church.
This month sees one of Cuba’s prime events: the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema (Dec 8-17), which serves as a launch pad for Latin American cinematography, having become one of the leading lm festivals in the region.
There are many outstanding cultural events this month. Whether it’s music, art, theater or dance, there is surely something for you. Find your favourite ones from our Listings. However, we strongly would like to recommend the concert with Omara Portuondo, Diego el Cigala and Pancho Céspedes. Omara, the Buena Vista Social Club diva, celebrated her 85th birthday and 70 years of artistic career alongside outstanding flamenco singer Diego el Cigala in a successful, historic tour around Europe. Now it’s your chance to see these two magni cent performers in Cuba at the Karl Marx Theater on December 9, at 8:30 pm. Surely, an event not to miss!
The Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba Company will be performing 1, 2, 3 ¡Todos a escena, a selection of its most famous choreographies, at the Sala Avellaneda of the National Theater on December 5 (5 pm) and December 15 & 16 (8:30 pm). And in concert music, the López-Gavilán family will be on concert at the Basílica Menor del Convento de San Francisco de Asís on December 22 at 6 pm.
Please, check our Listings for more events and our Havana Guide for the best restaurants, bars and hotels.
As 2018 draws near, the LaHabana.com Team sends out to each one of our readers a message of peace and love. We wish you a merry Christmas and hope that 2018 is a year of health, happiness and prosperity for you and for Cuba.
The LaHabana.com Team