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.

The date the festival is held is about the only thing that it has in common with a normal Christmas party. The celebration happens every night for a week. There are conga groups playing in the street, rumba dance parades, big colourful floats, and one of the most explosive firework shows you will ever see.

This event coincides with the following tours:

History and Origin of the Parrandas in Cuba

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 became a tradition and evolved over the years to become the massive street party that has remained until today.

Rituals and procedures were invented, such in 1871 when it was decided that the ringing of the church bells at 9pm on Christmas Eve, would signal the summoning of competing neighbourhoods to present their parades. Nowdays, there are 2 teams that come from traditional barrios in the town:

  • San Salvador which uses the colours red and blue and who's symbol is the rooster
  • El Carmen which uses the colour brown and has a globe as its symbol

In 1980 the Parrandas Musuem was opened in Remedios in one of the many old buildings in the town. It chronicles the history of the festival with photos, documents and other related items.

Photos of the Parrandas de Remedios Festival

A display at the remedios festival in Cuba The crowd at a festival display in Remedios, Cuba Party goers attending the Parrandas de Remedios, Cuba
A close up photo of one of the competing displays at the Remedios festval in Cuna A display from one of the competing teams at the Parrandas de Remedios, Cuba Smoke from fireworks rises from one of the displays at the Christmas Parrandas in Remedios, Cuba
One of the traditional and religious aspects of the Parrandas de Remedios festival in Cuba A carnival float at the Parrandas de Remedios festival in Cuba Fireworks at the Parrandas de Remedios, Cuba
Fireworks at the Christams Parrandas in Remedios, Cuba Blue fireworks at the Parrandas de Remedios festival in Cuba Colourful fireworks exploding over the cathdral in Remedios during the Parrandas festival
Fireworks light up the sky over Remedios during the yearly parrandas festival Tourists observe the crazy festivities from a rooftop at the Parrandas de Remedios festival in Cuba Lots of smoke from exploded fireworks at the Parrandas de Remedios festival in Cuba
Smoke and fireworks at the Parrandas de Remedios in Cuba Large crowds attend the final night of the Parrandas de Remedios festival in Cuba Fireworks light up the sky in Remedios, Cuba, during the Parrandas festival
Firewoks above the palm trees in the plaza in Remedios, Cuba.