Undoubtedly, the best souvenir from Cuba is black coral and jewelry made from it:
Combined with silver, these jewelry looks amazing. Turtle shell products are very popular, especially bracelets and hairpins; a variety of shells and mahogany products.
Not a single tourist leaves without buying 1-2 bottles of Cuban rum (3, 5, 7 years old) or world-famous Cuban cigars. In addition to the above purchases, one should also mention the machete – the main tool for cutting sugar cane. The souvenir option looks, of course, more attractive.
In Cuba, you can buy works of art, but to take them abroad, you need the appropriate documents, which are issued at the request of the person concerned. Visitors can get the information they need when shopping at art galleries and specialty stores. Every hotel, village or airport has duty free shops where you can find prestige brands including cigars, rum, juices, preserves, handicrafts, personal items, books, CDs, cassettes, videos, postcards, cards, posters, t-shirts and more.
In addition, there are various chain stores that specialize in meeting all tastes and requirements.
African beliefs. La Santeria
According to clothingexpress, Catholicism is the main religion in Cuba, but not the only one. Since the first black slave entered the land of the island, various beliefs of African origin have taken root there. Over time, three main currents were formed from them, which still exist and are popular today. These are Regla de Ocha (Regla de Ocha) or Santeria (Santeria), Las Reglas de Palo (Las Reglas de Palo) and La Sociedad Secreta Abacua (La Sociedad Secreta Abacua).
Pets continue to be sacrificed to the gods. In addition, there are dishes, fruits and strong drinks that participants share with the gods when performing a cult.
La Santeria (La Santeria) – with this word the people christened the religion, which is actually called Regla de Ocha (Regla de Ocha). From the moment of its origin in Cuba among the first African slaves, united by the horror of the Catholic liturgy, which did not fit into their primitive consciousness, this cult was deeply individual, family. African slaves had difficulty adapting to life far from their homeland, in conditions of the most severe exploitation, on the coast of the ocean – a constant source of danger. Some of them, coming from aesthetically advanced tribes, fond of songs and dances, passed on their knowledge to their descendants.
The sounds of drums and dances are the essential accompaniment of Santeria, the island’s most common way of expressing religious feelings based on a mixture of African beliefs and Catholic dogmas.
Oddly enough, there are people who call this unique phenomenon, which includes several types of art, surrounded by myths and mysteries, dangerous devilry and the machinations of the devil.
African deities in Cuba
In the first half of the 18th century, African slaves, united in the so-called cabildos (cabildos) – peculiar local councils of slaves originating from the same region of Africa, worshiped a certain deity, who is the patron of their tribe in Nigeria.
For example, in the Oyo tribe they worshiped Chango (Chango) – the owner of Thunder and Lightning, the god of War, the keeper of beauty and bata drums. It must be said that religious syncretism in Cuba was primarily expressed in the fact that almost every African deity has an analogue in the Catholic faith. So, do not be surprised, but the Spanish analogue of Chango is the Catholic Holy Santa Barbara.
The tribes of Egba, Nupe, Tapa, Abeocuta, Ibadan (Egba, Nupe, Tapa, Abeokuta and Ibadan) worshiped Yemaya (Yemaya) – the Mother of the Universe, a deity who personifies the sea, the source of life. An analogue in the Catholic religion is La Virgen de Regla – the Guardian of the Bay of Havana and the patroness of sailors.
The tribes Ekiti, Osogbo, Iyesa, Ijebu (Ekiti, Osogbo, Iyesa and Iheyab) worshiped Ochun (Ochun) – the deity of Love, Femininity and Sexuality, the symbol of Irony and Coquetry, the Mistress of the River and wealth. Her Catholic counterpart is Virgen de la Caridad de Cobre (Virgen de la Caridad de Cobre), Patroness of Cuba.
All African gods have their own distinctive features and areas of activity, but all of them are united by the following symbols: a stone and a shell.
The black slave, with his primitive, but very flexible consciousness, absorbing the surrounding reality like a sponge, hid his faith deep in his soul, hid, pretending to accept an alien Catholic religion imposed by white people. But in his heart he continued to worship the forces of nature, remembered his native language and the tunes of distant Africa, calling on the gods and telling about the incredible stories of their lives.
Creoles (children of white people born in the colony) absorbed this atmosphere from childhood. Their traditions, customs, desire for independence, national cuisine, family traditions bear the imprint of the lifestyle of Los Yoruba, Araras, Kongos, Aussas, Carabalies and other African tribes who contributed to the culture of the island and were reborn in the New World.
It is not for nothing that Cubans say to themselves: whoever does not have Congo in their blood, has Carabali.
Carnival in Cuba
The ethnic and cultural mixture that gave birth to the Cuban people was decisive in the formation of this distinctive holiday. For many years, sociologists and researchers have been trying to find an explanation for how Cubans manage to maintain a natural cheerfulness in any circumstances, and turn trouble into an occasion for jokes.
The lively and mocking Cuban character is especially evident in the traditional folk festivities that take place, at different times and with some local features, throughout the island.
Carnival in Santiago
Although, as already mentioned, carnivals are held virtually throughout the island, the carnival in Santiago de Cuba is considered the most ancient and popular. It traces its history back to colonial times, when every year there were masquerades or so-called mamarrachos and days of the Kings. These religious holidays were also organized in honor of such saints as Santa Cristina (July 24), Santiago Apostol (patron saint of the city, July 25) and Santa Ana y San joaquin (July 26).
The African cabildos brought up the rear of the religious procession, adding bright colors of their costumes, masks, puppets, the unique sound of drums and cheerful music to the atmosphere of the procession.
Today, the carnival in Santiago has not retained its religious focus, although it continues to be celebrated from July 24 to 26 annually. The main platform for it is Trocha Street (Trocha), which is decorated for such an occasion. Crowds of people gather to watch carrozas (karrosas) – special carts or platforms on wheels and with a motor, on which singers and dancers ride and comparsas (comparsas) – numerous groups of people living in the same area who choose a theme and beat it in the title, costumes and lyrics. Preparation for performances begins several months in advance. At every step you can taste delicious Creole cuisine. drink beer or rum in huge cardboard glasses called pergas (pergas). There are also two types of compars.