Situated some 734km from Havana, the north-western Cuba province of Havana is home to an unrivalled cultural wealth of Aboriginal, Spanish and African origin.
Other ethnic groups, including Jamaican and Haitian, who arrived in Cuba from the broader Caribbean region during the XX century, also brought their identities along with them to the unique and fertile area that is now Cuba’s third most important tourist resorts.
The vibrant celebrations of religious, popular rural and syncretic cult feast days and festivals, in addition to the beautiful landscapes, countryside and beaches, are what attract so many tourists to Holguin.
The Biran Historical Complex in the village with which it shares a name, offers tours of the family home where Fidel Castro, historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, was born.
History and nature combine to make the tour a most interesting and informative experience.
Even though many legends and traditions associated with culture in the broadest sense live side by side in Holguin, it is the international “Romerías de Mayo” (May Pilgrimages) festival, running since 1993 that is undoubtedly the most important.
This is the most transcendental of all the festivals that the Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS in Spanish) — a national organization that brings young artists together – organizes.
Year on year the cultural extravaganza exhibits a greater and even more diverse range of artistic and creative talent from Cuba and the world at large.
Literature, music, dance, visual arts and theater come together for almost a week, in a fusion of not only Cuban traditional and culture, but also that of every one of the participants.
More than 150 delegates from Latin America, Europe, the U.S., and Australia took part in the most recent edition of the event that ran from May 2-8 last.
The festival has its roots in a religious tradition that commenced in 1970, when a priest placed a cross on the top of a hill known then as “El Cerro Vallado”.
The act marked the start of a ritual in which people from Holguin climbed the hill in search of divine favors.
The young people of the AHS had the insight to convert a religious tradition that had been abandoned with the passage of time into a cultural festival for the masses.
In order to have a firsthand experience the tradition and customs on which the event is based, artists from many of the countries who participate in the Romerías de Mayo climb the 400 steps to the summit of what has now been re-named the Hill of the Cross.Share on FB Share on TT