By Jorge Milanes
HAVANA TIMES – Even though Cuban families have been slogging their way through very tough times, we recently celebrated a “Happy New Year”.
Taking on this holiday tradition as a need, or pleasure, because we have had heartrending economic conditions for years now, which make the idea of any decent celebration almost unattainable.
Nevertheless, we saw in the new year with health, well-being and love. But the dilemma lies in how we managed to see it in. Searching months in advance for beers, soft drinks, rum or cider for the family toast at midnight. It’s not that we aren’t able to do this, but it really is a nightmare to get a hold of these things, and it often kills people’s happiness.
A whole year of saving and then when the date draws near, hunting down spices, rice, beans, salad, bananas and, finally, something to roast the pork with.
Many families don’t have the financial means to buy pork and can’t even buy chicken, while “others” don’t have to stress at all because they have champagne, turkey or pork, turron and grapes, etc. guaranteed.
Time for the long-awaited dinner rolls around and we are so exhausted by then, but it doesn’t matter, we have to celebrate, even though our hearts aren’t completely in it like we’d like; drinking, dancing, looking back over the year and telling one or two jokes.
Taking a wide look at the table to see what has been eaten, most of the dinner is still there waiting. It’s been such hard work that my exhaustion is greater than my desire to eat. In cases like this, we must make provisions and wait for January 1st, even the 2nd, to relish and devour what took so much of our energy to get, only then to repeat another year of hardship, in a seemingly never-ending cycle.