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Havana Carnival guide, Cuba

Havana carnival

Every summer, Havana is host to one of the best known carnivals worldwide. As a tradition that has been passed down through countless generations, the Havana Carnival is a feast for the senses. Dating back many centuries, the carnival is held in memory of the slaves who would recreate the songs and dances of their homeland on the feast of CorpusChrist which was celebrated annually on the 6th of January. This is one of the few holidays that the slaves were allowed by their Spanish masters.

Over time, the actual dates of the carnival have changed and it is now held in the summer months, when most Cubans have their vacations. Most of the festivities take place in and around the Malecon (the waterfront) so as to provide respite from the heat of the summer.

Carnival displaysThe carnivals main attractions are the various floats and groups of dancers that animate the event. The dancers come from various neighbourhoods across Havana and train all through the year in preparation for the carnival.

One of the days of the carnival is dedicated exclusively to the children of Havana, with clowns, sweets, floats and magicians being the highlights of the day. Some of the children who aspire to be dancers are trained by the carnival’s dance groups from their respective neighbourhoods and prepared for the carnival.

The carnivals fascinating blend of colour, music and dance blurs the line between tourist and local and everyone who is at the waterfront is drawn into being a part of the carnival and celebrating one of Cuba’s biggest annual events.

Dates: July and August

Location: Havana

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