Guanabacoa, about the 28th Culture Week
From June 11th until 16th, Guanabacoa is celebrating, like every other year, a new edition of its Culture Week.
Guanabacoa has the atmosphere of the old Cuban cities, a very well defined atmosphere after more than four centuries of existence and which is still capable of provoking the most diverse feelings and interpretations.
As witnesses perdurable in time, there are still some buildings that talk to us with their own language, as well as costumes and traditions which have been inherited by generations. Known as Pepe Antonios village, this municipality has been forming its own history and there are many important events that have made its history wealthier and have made possible that the population may have a conscience of distinctive community and identity.
To promote its origin and mixture, its traditions and the most autochthonous part of the past and present cultural legacy, constitutes the main purpose of culture in our territory. Guanabacoa is considered the second municipality in size in the province of Havana City, and it is to be found in the central part of the province. An exclusive place is La Loma de la Cruz (The Hill of the Cross), which is an excellent spot from where to watch not just the town but also the Bay and part of Havana. The Historical Center was declared a National Monument in 1990. People may get to know this center if they join the tour offered by the Municipal Museum.
The social reality of the colonial period conditioned in the sphere of religious thinking, the presence of a set of beliefs and cults with an African origin that have lasted to our days. The black population, brought from different parts of the African coast, was the bearer of different cultures from this continent, each one with their own religious ideas, which were to come together in slave barracks. These were the seeds of these elements that became part of Cuban Culture.
In Guanabacoa there are still, almost intact, the Santeria practices from the Yoruba culture, brought from Africa by lucumi ethnic groups, religious expressions that surge in Cuba with the arrival to our coasts of the African slaves. The black people, brought by force from their land, constitute the central base of the colonial economy. Also the bantú cults and those from the Abakuá Secret Society are integrated to the cultural universe from Guanabacoa, as a life testimony of a rich religious mixture. In order to know the magical world of the traditional popular music through the religious cults with an African origin: Santeria or Regla de Ocha, Palo Monte, Abakúa Secret Society you may visit our Municipal Museum, found in Martí No. 108 and Versalles.
The celebration of the Culture Week coincides with the anniversary of the foundation of the site as an Indian Town. On June 12th, 1554, this town was founded through an agreement of the Townhall from San Cristóbal de la Habana and it took place according to what was established by the laws of the Indies towards the Indian people, since its first inhabitants were the indigenous people who were to be found wandering and dispersed, and who became to concentrate themselves in the place where the Village of Guanabacoa is to be found today, in order to keep them under control and to start them in the Catholic faith.
Guanabacoa has witnessed uunforgettable events such as Pepe Antonios defense of the land of Guanabacoa in the 18th Century faced with an enemy siege, or the foundation of the Artistic and Literary Lyceum past century. Every edition of the Culture Week threatens to become a great popular festival, where the most genuine values of national and local culture are to be appreciated, and it will always be a matchless occasion to go over the streets and to enjoy the contagious sounds of the drums, the exuberance of its present past, concerts, staging, festivals, contests, book presentations, tributes, dances and exhibitions.