When we imagine Cuba, then we thought about communism, the Cold War, doctors and old cars. These are ideas that are part of the imagination of most inhabitants of western democracies. We forget, however, that this island in the middle of the Caribbean is inhabited by people who have their own culture and customs. Today, we will break the boundaries of political and economic analysis about this country, we will talk about Cuban culture.
Cuban history and culture
Cuba, like Brazil, was a colony of a European metropolis, in its case, Spain. However, before the arrival of the Castilians the island was already inhabited by native populations (which were decimated), with its own characteristic cultural identity.
Furthermore, with the arrival of the Spaniards, the sending of enslaved people from Africa to the then colony began, making the Afro-descendant population still represent a significant portion of the Cuban people today. Therefore, what we know as Cuban culture is the fruit of years of intersection between these different cultures.
Probably the best known Cuban cultural expression outside the country is salsa. This rhythm and the dance corresponding to it has been immortalized in several films. The musical style created in the 1940s influences artists to this day, just like a well-known Cuban, Camila Cabello. In his you can see clear references to the musical style, whether in the musical composition or in the visual construction of the video clip.
It is worth mentioning that, in the beginning, the style was not called salsa, this name only came to be used to call the rhythm around 1970. Until that time what existed was the Cuban son, a combination of Spanish music with original instruments African. Over the years, the pace has taken place in the American market, something somewhat unlikely in times of the Cold War. Consolidating themselves in the pantheon of “Latin” images of the Americans.
Another typically Cuban musical style that is recurrent in Hollywood films is Cha Cha Cha. Who has never seen Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere dancing in na Afternoon session? Cha cha cha is an energetic ballroom dance packed with a rhythm that transports us to the Caribbean, in which the pair of dancers exudes sensuality and passion.
Nevertheless, the culture of a people is not limited to its dances and music. Cuba also does not disappoint when it comes to cuisine, which uses our well-known ingredients. The dishes are a mixture of the indigenous cuisine (cassava, pumpkin, beans and corn), European cuisine (pork, chicken and rice) and traditional African cuisine (yam, okra and banana).
Another aspect in which Cuba and Brazil are culturally similar is Carnival. That’s right, it’s not just our country that has Carnival. The island country usually has parades of floats and street blocks. And, as in our country, Carnival is considered the largest popular festival in the nation.
Spanish colonization based on the production of sugar cane also left its mark on the behavior of Cubans. Easy access to alcohol from the plantations made it possible to create typical Cuban drinks: rum, mojito (cocktail made with rum, lemon, sugar, ice and mint) and guarapo (garapa).
These are just some cultural aspects of Cuba, there is no way to name them all. If the subject interested you, there is a lot of legal information on the Internet. Now, it’s your turn to look for more information. ‘Let’s get to know Cuba!’