Photo Feature by Elio Delgado

New Years dinner.
New Years dinner.

HAVANA TIMES, Jan. 5 – The end of 2009 arrived in Cuba, and with it came accumulated hopes and dreams: building a new house, a better salary, a new job, something different, and other changes no less important (though they go unspoken).

This year end was not without the agricultural fair, albeit with the high prices set by the lauded forces of supply and demand.  Such staples are now unaffordable for many low-income families, though a little money is always stashed away for this season.

Obispo St. in Old Havana.
Obispo St. in Old Havana.

Shopping wasn’t easy as far as purchasing power went, though there was no canceling the pig slaughtering spectacle on the block – a prominent tradition in these holiday festivities.

Public slaughter.
Public slaughter.

In the streets of Havana there wasn’t the usual party spirit or effervescence like in other years, which used to be festooned and celebrated with a contagious delight.

The selection in the capital’s stores was very limited for the Christmas festivities (a tradition that Cubans adore and mix with New Year’s).  The world economic crisis was clearly felt at the counter.

Carnavaleando street theater troupe
Carnavaleando street theater troupe.

For children, the Carnavaleando street-theater troupe offered shows with their giant stilt-walking figures in different city squares, giving preference to poorer neighborhoods.

This is something children appreciate and enjoy greatly, even more so when, for a variety of reasons, their parents rarely take them to the kids shows at theaters.

The barrio performances are a way of bringing culture to all social spheres.

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