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  • The Cuban Santiago Carnival in July

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    Naturally you would visit Cuba because of its natural beauties, amazing colonial architecture, sunny beaches and culture. But if you are planning a trip to the country you should also take in consideration the time of the different Cuban carnivals so you can catch one. The Santiago Carnival in July is one of the oldest and most amazing festivals in Cuba that you will surely love!

    The story of the Carnival in Santiago

    First of all you, if you have been thinking about going to this amazing week long carnival, you must know that Santiago de Cuba is located in the southern area of the country, more than 470 miles away from Havana, the capital city.

    Santiago de Cuba Carnival

    Santiago Carnival Team at Carnival.com Studio/Flickr

    The roots of this wonderful Carnival go back to the late 17th century, the days of the Spanish colonial period. Santiago (in English St. James) is the patron saint of the city and at that time the Spanish permitted to the black slaves of the city to have a celebration of their own during Epiphany. The slaves celebrated with their own music, dances and costumes and that is how the Carnival in Santiago came to life. In the 19th century the time of the festivities was extended so that other saints can also be celebrated.

    The Santiago Carnival today

    Since the beginning of the last century the different neighborhoods all have their own comparsas (parading groups) with singers, dancers and costumes, and everyone is very proud of their own group. Also, great dances are held in the main areas of the city with Latino style choreographies in relation with the daily life of the locals and general Caribbean themes.

    In 2015 the Carnival will take place between July 21 and 29 and the streets of Santiago will be filled with locals, visitors and music and fun! he decorated floats of the different groups will parade down on Avenida Garzon where a jury will decide which one is the most beautiful this year.

    Carnival people in Santiago

    Carnival people ©Prefeitura de Olinda/Flickr

    Some of the other highlights of the Carnival and parade are the munecones which are large papier mache figures, parranderos with drums, congas and other instruments, mamarrachos in colorful costumes, enmascarados who are people in beautiful and elaborate masks and much more. Also do not be surprised if you see old, really old, people in all sorts of costumes participating in the parade.

    If you have decided to visit Santiago for the July carnival you still have time to start planning your trip, searching for a hotel, renting a car and also finding a cheap flight to Cuba, so hurry up! Cuba is waiting!

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