San Juan from Camaguey, virtual but authentic

San Juan from Camaguey, virtual but authentic

Heritage & Traditions

Alina Gómez

Traditionally, San Juan's Day on June 24 does not go unnoticed in Cuba, where it marks popular celebrations in various towns where usually, this date is celebrated, as in the central-eastern city of Camagüey.

The current health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic does not prevent the date from being remembered, although the celebrations are limited to social networks and television channels with various initiatives. 

San Juan Camagüey, one of the most authentic festivals of this Caribbean island, is a true carnival, which begins at midnight on the eve of the date and ends on the 29th with a unique burial of Saint Peter. 

Parades of floats, dance groups, congas, dolls, cars, bicycles ... celebration areas with popular dance music groups, national and local, have been part of the proposals of these days, for which the streets of the city are decorated.

Among the customs of Camagüey people these days prepare in the streets and neighborhoods of the very Cuban ajiaco, soup with a variety of ingredients, which reflects the country's own nationality, mixture of several origins, although other gastronomic offers can also be tasted in various establishments.

The memories of this popular festival in the mainly agricultural and livestock territory date back to the 18th century, when at the end of the tillage period, skins and cattle were brought to the city for sale and at the time it became a fair with horse races, costumes, walks, dances and parties.

Chroniclers say that jokes in bad taste against the main figures of the town under the protection of the masks led to the suspension of the festivities between 1818 and 1834. When they were restored in 1835, colonial authorities fixed terms of moderation to festivities by means of a Bando, whose reading each year gave way to the celebration.