Cuba: Party Time in the Largest Antillean Island
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- 11 / 03 / 2008
The arrival of Spanish conquistadors in Cuba was accompanied by the customs established by Catholicism, which gradually expanded to all corners of the Caribbean island.
With the passage of time, traditional festivities in late December and early January, especially Christmas' Eve, New Year's Eve and Epiphany, gained grounds in the largest Antillean Island.
In Cuba's setting, those festivities usually have a family nature, although in rural communities, people organize collective celebrations consisting of games and competitions.
On December 24 (Christmas' Eve), all family members - whether or not they live under the same roof - gather to commemorate such a date.
Of course, Cubans link that festivity with a traditional gastronomic offer, including roast pork, "congrí" (rice and black beans), yucca, and homemade disserts.
Wines and cold beer complement the menu, which is also enriched with Spanish "turrones" (a type of candy traditionally eaten at Christmas), nuts and dates.
Christmas - one of the most important festivities in the Christian world - is also characterized by a special dish, stuff turkey, which is washed down with liquors.
Many years ago, festivals and tombolas in parks, as well as raffles and open-air dances, became popular among the Cuban people.
December 31 is another family date, which is celebrated with a similar menu of roast pork and drinks, although a peculiar detail is added: 12 grapes, which are eaten at midnight to bid farewell to the old year.
Of course, for thousands of travelers who bet on Cuba to spend those significant dates, the Island's leisure industry offers them the possibility of sharing those festivities with the local people, who are characterized by their hospitability, especially during those days of joy.
Popular festivals, a wide range of cultural shows, fireworks, banquets and varied gastronomic options characterize the atmosphere in cities and rural communities throughout Cuba, where customs differ from town to town.
In that regard, December is also a special month for tourism, since visitors have the chance to enjoy the festivities in hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, and cabarets, or at friends' homes.