Havana Carnival, Havana

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Havana Carnival
Havana Carnival © Alan Kotok

Havana Carnival

Cubans take enormous pride in their cultural heritage which is never more evident than through the county's festivals. Carnival is lauded as the most long-standing and most popular tradition on the national event calender and Cubans go all out in the months of July and August with parades, street parties, colourful costumes, wild dancing, conga lines, fireworks and traditional music. The fun and frolics reach high levels over weekends, when the locals put their toil and troubles aside and bring out the rum. Carnival comes with some entertaining traditions, like the carrying of huge effigies of well-known people paraded along the coastal road, the Malecon, and the gaudy 'faroleros', decorated lamp posts carried aloft by dancers. The wonderful thing about Carnival is the celebration of all aspects of Cuban heritage and culture including contingents like the Chinese Cubans who partake very actively in the festivities. Other cities in Cuba also celebrate Carnival but not necessarily at the same time as Havana. Although Santiago de Cuba is renowned to host the largest and most riotous celebrations, Havana's Carnival remains the most well-known and well-attended event for tourists and foreigners. Santiago's Carnival is in late July, usually coinciding with the celebrations in Havana; Trinidad has its own, smaller version of Carnival in late June.

Venue: El Malecón promenade
Date: Weekends during July and August