HAVANA TIMES – Christmas celebrations in Cuba have come to be defined by a family dinner, of turkey, chicken or fish (although the later has become very difficult to get a hold of recently).
Meanwhile, New Year celebrations include roasted pork, pork scratchings, beans and rice, cassava, fried plantain, seasonal salad, syrupy desserts and other dishes typical of each region.
Music is something else these celebrations can’t go without, where even neighbors come over for a dance, waiting for midnight. Wishing each other well, raising a toast for the new year and coming home to throw the traditional jug of water out onto the street and… get rid of all the bad things in our lives! Then, go around the block with a suitcase so they can get to go on a trip abroad or some other religious tradition.
This New Year’s, we haven’t abandoned these traditions, but it’s clear that our financial means have changed and this won’t allow us to make the traditional meal we normally have, because food items are too expensive and scarce.
Even though the government has set aside spaces for trade markets in towns, at relatively affordable prices, this is something that also gives rise to contradictory opinions. These go hand-in-hand with long lines of people who have no guarantee that they will be able to take what they want home, especially meat.
In my house, we always try to see in the New Year in the most traditional way possible, but this year we won’t have pork like in previous years, but chicken. There won’t be the abundance of years past either, although my neighbor was able to buy a pig in the countryside and already told me when he brought the animal back with a rope around its neck: “Don’t buy anything, we’ve got it all,” we shouldn’t get used to it.
Anyway, even if many people’s financial situation has been increasingly difficult, I wish you all health and strength to carry on. Happy New Year!