Saturday, 2 June 2012


Trinidad Carnival Cuba

I’m excited by the fact that my trip to Cuba has coincided with the Trinidad Carnival. Trinidad is always alive with music, but I have never experienced the Carnival and I was looking forward to sharing it with the family.  

The Warm-Up Trinidad Carnival Cuba
I’m at the bank and I can hear music being played outside so I go out to see what’s happening and there is some kind of band procession, with a flow of people following the musicians.  It’s like a prelude to the carnival celebrations, a refreshing welcome to open everyone’s appetite, a reminder of what carnival entails or an announcement of what’s to come.  People stop what they’re doing and watch the musicians pass by and join the back of the procession, following it to Parque Cespedes, where the band continue to play a little while longer.

Around the square there is a buzz in the atmosphere.  José Martí has been transformed from an ordinary street to a place dedicated to fun and festivity.  I walk several blocks and I am amazed with the transformation, there are street vendors, food stalls, beer vans, activities for the kids.  

Once the afternoon sun has cooled down a little, we all put on our favourite outfits and go out to join the carnival fun, which is a family affair.  The streets are crowded with families, all looking their best.  Ladies with their hair and nails done, men wearing their smartest jeans and t-shirts with extravagant designs.  

Trinidad Carnival Cuba
Pipa de Cerveza - Beer Van
We try to explore the different stalls, the children are excited as their eyes bulge at all the goodies on offer.  Every few steps we bump into friends or family and we have a little chat and catch up on the local gossip.  My mind begins to wander and I lose focus on the conversation being held.  I can´t help but stare around me at the harmless fun being had by all.  Just like the kids, I eye up the food on offer and am keen to try what looks like chicken kebab sticks.  I am amazed at the beer van, people queuing impatiently holding all kinds of empty bottles / plastic containers of various shapes and sizes.  It looks like you can fill any container for 1 Cuban Peso (CUP), not a bad deal and people are making the most of it.

Tractor Trinidad Carnival Cuba
Later on that evening I go out alone and find one of the guys from Casa de la Trova.  We head to the sports stadium slightly out of town where a Salsa Band from Havana are playing live.  I´m so glad I bumped into my friend as I had no idea that this event was happening.  There was no entrance fee but there were tractors pulling beer vans into the arena, more cheap beer!  

We got our cheap beer and found our spot and it didn´t take long for people to find us.  All the guys that usually hang out at Casa de la Trova, come wondering by.  We all share the beer, taking swigs from the same bottle without a care in the world, we dance, we have fun, and it feels good to be part of this small community, even if I´m not a permanent member.  

Carnival in Trinidad, Cuba usually takes place at the end of June.
(In 2012, it will take place between 23-27 June)

Street Food Trinidad Carnival Cuba

Youtube Video Trinidad Carnival Cuba

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