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Carnivals and masquerades feats

One of the earliest and most traditional feasts in Cuba are the carnivals, and the ones from Santiago de Cuba and Havana are the most popular.

Thousands of people expect this feast every year, eager to enjoy the gorgeous show made by a parade of floats in an explosive colourful joy for everyone.

Carnivals have their roots in previous centuries, it is related to the celebration of the Corpus Christi and the Epiphany, when black people organized collective dances and parades.

Authorized by their Spanish master, the African slaves enjoyed some days off once in a year. Beside that, every January 6th, Epiphany Day, they were allowed to reproduce their songs from their original lands. In the case of the capital the date of its celebration have varied through time. Lately it the celebration takes place in summertime, although it is said it will return to the months of February and March.

the carnivalsThis avalanche of music, rhythm and color is animated by traditional parades of costumed merrymakers as the Jardinera, the Giraldilla of Havana, Guaracheros of Regla, Los Marqueses de Atares, The Bolleras and The Alacrán. In their advancement intense color, traditional dances and creole rhythms get together; the drums and the sound of the Chinese cornet accompany them. The masquerade feast is the top expression of the carnival, according to the erudite Don Fernando Ortíz.

Many of these groups have their origin in Havanas neigborhoods and their future in the children who also have their space during the carnival celebration. Every year the viewers become during the feast active participants, due to the contagious music played by the most popular bands of the Island and the catching lyrics that call to dance.

The parade in The Malecon in Havana city has the attraction of the "Muñecones", enormous figures representing the most diverse characters. Also the "faroleros", (lamplighters), artist who join the show carrying colourful things resembling street lamps, which they turn continuously at the rhythm of the wild conga.