Carnival fever takes over Havana's Malecon seawall

Posted: 22-Aug-16 10:52

The contagious beats, imposing floats and spirited dancing of Carnival has infected Cuba's capital city since last weekend. As the party goes on, amazing artists and music groups gather to animate Havana nights and perpetuate this colourful tradition that dates back to several centuries, while the parade passes through the iconic Malecon seawall.

Carnival fever takes over Havana's Malecon seawall

As the summer sizzles in Cuba, its most remarkable celebration vibrates in the island’s capital. The buzzing atmosphere of Carnival has finally reached Havana after the loud and upbeat parades had crowned the nights of other cities, including Santiago de Cuba’s Carnival in July and Guantanamo’s Carnival in the early days of August.

The Havana Carnival is a traditional popular festivity whose origins can be traced back to 1576 when freed slaves were given permission by the town council of Havana to participate in the procession of the Corpus Christi Later, when the African councils celebrated Epiphany, they joined the parade that went up the streets to the Plaza de Armas to pay their respects to the Captain General.

Looking to rescue its former glory and diversity, the 2016 Havana Carnival was prepared a year in advance and tries to unite modern tendencies with traditional dances. All along the iconic Malecon seawall, local’s favourite rendezvous spot, the celebration comes to life every night and will do so until 30th August. From the Hotel Nacional to Maceo Park, the seaside promenade is lined with small kiosks selling food and beverages as well as grandstands for the crowd to observe as the colourful floats go by.

Amazing local groups gather and compete to make Cubans shake their body during the celebration, including los Componedores de Batea, los Caballeros del Ritmo, los Guaracheros de Regla and los Tambores de Bejucal. Other more famous artists of the Cuban music industry that will treat “havaneros” to their music, comprise salsa groups Pupy y los que Son Son, Elito Reve y su Charangon, El Nino y la Verdad and the all-female Anacaona.

The parades would lose their colour without the slick moves of dedicated dancers. Renowned dancing ensembles like El Alacran, La Jardinera, Los Marqueses de Atares, Los Componedores de Batea, Los Guaracheros de Regla y La Sultana will boast their choreographies. Other important companies like the Tropicana Cabaret, Free Dance and Cucalambe will also be offering spectacular shows to accompany the parades.

Throughout its history, Havana’s carnival has changed its location, from places as distant to the Malecon as Reina Street, Old Havana’s Alameda de Paula and the new Prado. In spite of all changes and difficulties, however, the tradition is not lost to this day and carries with it a spirit of celebration and happiness that captivates all those who attend with bright colours, the seducing sounds of conga and the people’s flavoursome and carefree dancing.


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