Caribbean Fire Fiesta
Photos by Ferval
A swell of people moved, dancing, to the Avenue of the Port, to witness the traditional Burning of the Devil. It was the closing ceremony of the 32nd Festival of the Caribbean, an annual event in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.
Originally conceived as a gathering of academics for conferences, workshops, and talks on the culture, dance and music of the Caribbean, the event developed into a street party festival, taking place from early morning to late at night every day for a week in July every year.
At this year's festival, which was dedicated to the Island of Martinique, the Fiesta del Fuego (Party of Fire) brought together some 1300 guests from 32 countries, and showed the most distinctive traits of their respective cultures.
In addition to enjoying great music and dance, and interesting art exhibitions, participants attended colloquiums and meetings regarding different aspects of the Caribbean.
One of the most outstanding manifestations of the annual festival is the Desfile de la Serpiente (Snake Parade) which runs from Martes Square to Céspedes Park, and customarily includes the participation of locals and visitors. This year, a mass of people danced to the beat of drums and performed wonderful choreographies, showing the spiritual wealth of the Caribbean and the brotherhood among its peoples.
On the final day, the Conga of the Hoyos, one of the most celebrated events in Cuba, attracted a huge crowd that danced down Enramada Street to the seashore. There, the metaphorical Devil, represented by a wooden structure, was incinerated as a sort of exorcism to chase bad spirits away and provide good luck for the coming year.