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The festival of Las Parrandas de Remedios

The festival of Las Parrandas de Remedios The small town of Remedios is recognized as the eighth oldest city in Cuba, and is famous for its Christmas festival, “Las Parrandas de Remedios”. One of the most popular events of the region, and considered the oldest festivities in Cuba, the “parrandas” take place between the 16th to the 26th of December every year.

Celebrations include street parades with rumba percussion ensembles, music and verses, a float display and the very dramatic fireworks competition.

Click here to see fotos from this event in 2011

This event coincides with the following tours:

History and Origin of the Parrandas

The festival of Las Parrandas de Remedios Parrandas were born in the 18th century when Father Francisco Vigil de Quiñones, the priest of the Grand Cathedral of Remedios, had the idea to put together groups of children and provide them with jars, plates and spoons so they could run around the village making noise and singing verses, in order to get the people to come to midnight masses the week before Christmas. The idea persisted over the years and with time it gain complexity ending in the street party that has remained till these days.

That singular and noisy initiative got deeply rooted among the population, resulting in the most attractive festivity in the country. In 1871, the "parrandas" adopted a structure that has survived the passage of time. According to tradition, when the bells of the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor (Major Parochial Church) toll at 9 o'clock on the night of December 24, two neighborhoods make public their creativeness and efforts made during the entire year to participate in the competition. During the "parrandas", a "fierce" competition takes place between the neighborhoods of San Salvador, represented by the colors red and blue, and a rooster as a symbol, and El Carmen, represented by the color brown and a globe. The memory of those celebrations is compiled at the Museum of Parrandas, which opened in a 19th century building in 1980 in Remedios, where photos, documents and hand-made objects linked to the festivities are preserved.