Cuba Events : Festivals & Carnivals (Full list 2020)

Discover the best events not to be missed in Cuba and schedule your trip so that you can enjoy the authentic feel of the country
santiago de cuba

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Cuba is a country where there is always something going on in terms of cultural events, because this has been the country’s political line since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959: to make culture accessible to the greatest number and to disseminate it as often as possible. So you will find many cultural festivals of all kinds, especially film festivals. But Cuba is also the country of festivities and there are unmissable events such as the Carnival of Santiago de Cuba which takes place every summer. Here is a selection of events not to be missed during your stay in Cuba.

Cuba Events in January

Premio Literarío – La Havana Organized by the Casa de las Américas in Havana in mid-January. This prestigious literary prize brings together South American-Canadian authors of all genres: poetry, essays, theatre, novels, Caribbean literature, etc. Semana de la cultura trinitaria – Trinidad  It is held at the beginning of January. Concerts, exhibitions, conferences throughout the city. All these events revolve around culture: handicrafts, contempo-rain art, Cuban traditions, Cuban music…

Cuba Events in February

Feria internacional del libro de la Havana Annual event whose last edition took place from 12 to 22 February 2015. This book fair was dedicated to Indian culture. Semana de la cultura Camagüeyana Every year during the first week of February, the city authorities organise this cultural event to pay tribute to the city’s founders. It is an opportunity to highlight the socio-cultural, scientific and technical development of the region. The activities are scattered all over the city.

Cuba Events in March

Cinematographic Cristics – Camagüey This important festival takes place in the second half of March. It is often the Cuban echo of the Festival of New Latin American Cinema. More than 150 films, including many Cuban productions, are screened there. Festival del Són – Santiago de Cuba Third week of March. A city of music par excellence, the local authorities organise every year during the third week of March, the festival of the són, the musical genre that, among other things, gave birth to salsa and which defines Afro-Caribbean music more than any other. Cafés and other traditional hangouts come alive and the street follows!

Cuba Events in April

Festival internacion del Cine pobre – Gibara  The festival is held every year in April. It celebrated its 12th edition in 2014 on the screens of the Jiba cinema (Calixto García Park). Organised by the ICAIC (Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry), the event brings together independent authors on the fringes of the international production system. Festival de la huella de España – La HavanaFESTIVAL LA HUELLA DE ESPAÑA Organized every year in the second half of April by the Cuban Ministry of Culture and the Gran Teatro de La Habana. On the program: dance, music, lyric art, poetry and theater. To immerse yourself in the heart of the Spanish artistic roots that have nourished Cuba. Tivoli Festical – Santiago de Cuba Mid-April. If you’re in Santiago in mid-April, don’t miss the Tivoli festival: a large popular market where everything is sold for several days in the streets of the neighborhood (crafts, cigars and rum in particular) and many stands representing local businesses are located.

Cuba Events in May

French Film Festical – La Havana Organized since 1992 by the Cinémania association of director and producer Christophe Barratier and by Nouredine Essadi, with the constant support of the Alliance française de Cuba and the French embassy in Cuba, the festival is today considered as the great annual meeting of French culture in Cuba. A popular success that is not to be denied, with more than 100,000 spectators each year. After Isabelle Huppert in 2012, the guests of honour were Sandrine Bonnaire and Pierre Etaix in 2013 and, in 2014, François-Xavier Demaison and Pierre Niney made the trip to Cuba for the festival. present their film Comme des Frères. In 2015, the guest of honour at the festival was none other than the famous director Costa-Gavras. International Festical of the poetry – La Havana Organized by the Union of Cuban Writers at the Convento de San Francisco de Asís, this festival  takes place in May. Discovery of new authors in particular. During the last editions  of the Festival have participated authors from Argen-tine, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, from Palestine, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Romerías de Mayo  – Holguín www.romeriasdemayo.cult.cu A week-long festival, at the beginning of May, based on art and culture (dance, painting, literature). A procession joins the Loma de la Cruz, on 3 May, in memory of the construction by the monk Antonio Alegria of the the cross overlooking the city in 1790.

Cuba Events in June

Camagüey Carnival – Camagüey The festivities last from the end of June to the beginning of July. As in the whole country, the atmosphere is guaranteed between the floats, parades, costumes and the inevitable rum that flows. …in the sea… Internation festival de Boleros de Oro – La Havana The festival, created in 1986 by the composer and musicologist José Loyola Fernández, is considered the most prestigious bolero event organized on this side of the Atlantic. It takes place at the end of June. Fiestas Sanjuaneras – Trinidad Over 3 days at the end of June. Every year, Trinidad organizes its carnival, the fiestas Sanjuaneras. A notable feature is the cavalcade of horses and riders in the streets of the city. Jornada Cucalambeana – Las Tunas Every year, at the end of June, the city pays homage to the local poet Juan Cristóbal Nápoles Fajardo (1829-1862). El Cucalambé, his nickname, was known for his consummate art of decimas, a rhyming poem systematically composed of ten verses. His works will inspire a great number of sound singers.

Cuba Events in July

Havana Carnival – La Habana The carnival introduced by the Spaniards has established itself as a popular national holiday. Integrating African traditions, both in music and dance, it is today one of the central elements of Cuban cultural identity. Between 15 July and 15 August, the Malecón of Havana vibrates every weekend to the rhythm of music, dances and float parades. The comparsas (large popular troupes) are having a blast. The public, installed on bleachers or standing along the avenues, enjoy the show. Once the parade is over, the spectators take their turn on the avenues. Beer and rum are flowing, so many generous stimulants for good humour! A simple piece of advice: leave passports and valuables at the hotel, so as not to tempt the service pickpockets. Carnival of Santiago de Cuba Last week of July. It is the most famous, the most sensual, the most popular carnival in Cuba and, perhaps, in the Caribbean. It marks, originally, the end of the sugar zafra (harvest) in the region. The festivities take place during the last week of July and more particularly between 24 and 26 July (count 5 CUC for a grandstand seat). Caribbean Festival In Santiago de Cuba, early July. This festival coincides with the anniversary period of the foundation of the city of Santiago de Cuba, which in July 2015 blew out its 500 candles. Each year a different country is honoured. Many of the city’s cultural hotspots take part in this event. July 9, the closing date of the event (which lasts almost a week), corresponds to the Caribbean Day of Fire, in other words, Devil’s Day.

Cuba Events in August

Holguin Carnival Great moment in perspective, usually during the third week of August. Parade, costumes and music will be playing in the city with a contagious energy and a communicative good mood. Let yourself be carried away by the atmosphere and the rhythm, just to taste the joys of the fiesta cubana. International Rap Habana Hip Hop Festival – La Havana In the second week of August, Havana welcomes rappers and hip-hop singers from Cuba and elsewhere for a week of urban music and good atmosphere.

Cuba Events in September

Festival Nacional del Teatro de Camagüey Daily performances in all the city’s theatres one week in early September. All genres are represented, from puppet shows to tragi-comedy with actors who compete in skill. Admission is free but places are limited. If you’re there on these dates, plan to be there early…

Cuba Events in October

Festical de teatro de la Habana At the end of October, Havana receives groups of artists in the different theatres of the city. Since its first edition in 1980, the festival has brought together all the trends of the contemporary scene. Fiesta de la cultura Ibero americana Event focusing on Ibero-American heritage and culture. Intellectuals and artists will meet in the second half of October to discuss and present their work. Ask at the Casa de la Cultura for information about the programme.

Cuba Events in November

Festival de raices Africanas Wemilere – Guanabacoa End of November in Guanabacoa, 12 km east of Havana. The event focuses on folklore traditions (music and dance) and traditional African arts, which allows a better understanding of the importance of African culture in the Cuban universe. Prestigious artists have been born there, such as Ernesto Lecuona, Rita Montaner and Bola de Nieve.

Cuba Events in December

Feria Internacional de Artesania (FIART) The Biennial Fair reveals a wide panorama of traditional, indigenous and contemporary Cuban handicrafts: exhibitions of furniture, artistic objects, workshops. Event open to Cuban and foreign craftsmen. Prizes awarded by UNESCO and the Cuban Cultural Property Fund. Festival Interaction del Nuevo Cine LatinoAmericano – La Havana Since 1979, during the first fortnight of December, Havana has welcomed producers, directors and actors from Latin America for a resolutely contemporary programme. Fiesta a la Guantanamera – Guantánamo Early December in the city of Guantánamo. Ideal for those who wish to initiate or deepen el changüí, la tumba francesa and Franco-Haitian folklore. Theme also focused on the Caribbean. Havana Internation Jazz Festival – La Havana Since 1978, this festival has played a major role in the world of Latin American jazz, as much for the technical level as for the musical qualities of the invited artists. San Lázaro – Trinidad December 17th. We celebrate San Lazaro, patron saint of the poor. Numerous processions in the city centre. Santa Bárbara – Trinidad December 4th. This is one of the major health events in the city. One celebrates Santa Barbara (Chango), the most popular of the Orishas who govern fire, feast and all the pleasures of life. Numerous processions in the downtown area.

Cuba Festivals

Discover the interesting Cuban culture through the most important festivals in Cuba

Cuba is a country with a wide variety of cultural traditions and festivals, despite the fact that on several occasions it has had to face economic crises, Cuba tries to keep alive the folklore most characteristic of the Cuban identity.

Among all the rural, patron saint or carnival celebrations, we can find festivals of Spanish and Canarian origin such as the Fiesta del Fuego (Fire Festival), celebrated in rural areas where country music predominates, as well as the changüí, celebrated in Guantánamo.

There are also the Fiestas de Bandos (Bandos Festivals), which have different names depending on the area of the country in which they are held. They are based on the celebration of events such as skill with horses, etc.

Among the carnival festivities of their Hispanic predecessors, we can find the one in Santiago de Cuba, with important French influences from Haiti, and the one in Havana, which takes place in July in Camagüey.

In general, among the celebrations that you can’t miss are the typical festivals of Cuban culture celebrated in December, the Parrandas and Charangas, which resemble carnivals. Among these celebrations, the most popular are those that take place in Remedios in the province of Villa Clara, those of Bejucal in Havana, Sancti Spíritus and the Ciego de Avila celebrations. The strangest and most surprising of these festivities consists of the rivalry between different neighbourhoods through music, the construction of carriages, pyrotechnics, etc.

Thanks to the cultural crossroads of the area, in addition to the festivities of African origin, we can also find festivities of Haitian origin such as the Bande-Rará and the festivities of the Loás. Other famous Cuban celebrations are related to religion, music and dance.

In addition to its Hispanic origin, carnivals are an important representation of Cuban folklore. Despite the fact that the most important ones are those of Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey, during the year parades are organized in order to relive the most intimate Cuban music, dances and traditions.

In addition, there are important dates in Cuban history related to events such as the Independence of Cuba on May 20 and January 1, Labor Day on May 1 or the Day of the National Revolt between July 25 and 27. These are the historical facts that commemorate the island’s most important moments.

On the other hand, one of the events not to be missed and which has a great international reputation, beyond the jazz, bolero and arts festivals, is the International Ballet Festival celebrated in Havana every two years in October. In operation since 1960, thanks to the work of the General Director of the National Ballet of Cuba, Alicia Alonso and Fernando Alonso. It is one of the most prestigious dance festivals in the world.

Another criterion for choosing when to go to Cuba: the great events on the island! Overall, the July-August period is rich in festivities. The most popular and oldest event in the Caribbean is the Carnival of Santiago de Cuba, which takes place at the end of July. Beware of this period, temperatures can rise in Santiago de Cuba and there are also many people in Cuba. But, if you are looking for when to go to Cuba, July or August can be the perfect time to have fun at the Santiago de Cuba carnival. This unique carnival in the world is an explosion of colors, costumes, music, dance and floats going wild in Cuba. If you are still hesitating when to go to Cuba, the carnival period is a once in a lifetime experience!

Among the events in July and August that can help you know when to go to Cuba, there is also the other great carnival in Cuba after the one in Santiago de Cuba: the carnival in Havana.

The latter takes place at the end of August and brings life and color back to Havana’s historic center and the Malecón. It is also worth noting that on July 26th, Cubans celebrate the day of the revolution. A festival of importance, it celebrates the day Fidel Castro launched the hostilities of the Cuban revolution in 1953 in Santiago de Cuba.
If you are still hesitating about the ideal time to visit Cuba, all you have to do is pick from our 3 best moments to know when to go to Cuba!

Les Évènements à Cuba

FévrierFeria Internacional del Libro (La Havane)foire internationale du livre: Présentations de livres, lectures et remise du prestigieux prix Casa de las Américas
FévrierFestival international du Jazz (La Havane)Scènes de jazz
FévrierPlongée en eaux claires (Cuba)Meilleure saison pour la plongée
MarsFestival Internacional de Trova (Santiago de Cuba)Festival de musique populaire
MarsFiesta de la Toronja (Nueva Gerona )grande fête donnée où le guachi (eau-de-vie de pamplemousse) coule à flots.
MarsObservation des oiseaux (Cuba)les oiseaux migrateurs venus d’Amérique du Nord et du Sud croisent les espèces endémiques de Cuba au cours de leur périple vers des climats plus chauds ou plus froids
AvrilSemana de la Cultura (Baracoa)Carnaval endiablé
AvrilFestival Internacional del Cine Pobre (Gibara)festival du film à petit budget: ateliers autour de projections de films et des débats.
AvrilBienal Internacional del Humor (San Antonio de los Baños)festival de l’humour
MaiRomerías de Mayo (Holguín)fête religieuse avec procession au lieu de pèlerinage
MaiCubadisco (Cuba)Rassemblement annuel de producteurs de disques cubains et étrangers : concerts, salon du disque et cérémonie
MaiTournoi de pêche au marlin Hemingway (La Havane)Concours international
JuinJornada Cucalambeana (Las Tunas)la fête de la musique folklorique cubaine et des décimas (strophes de 10 vers)
JuinFestival Internacional « Boleros de Oro » (La Havane)fête des Boleros de Oro a été créée par le compositeur et musicologue cubain José Loyola Fernández : grande célébration de ce genre musical avec concerts et spectacles
JuinFiestas Sanjuaneras (Trinidad )Carnaval avec cow-boys qui s’élancent à cheval dans les étroites rues pavées de la ville.
JuilletFestival del Caribe, Fiesta del Fuego (Santiago)fête de la Culture caribéenne, fête du Feu: expositions, chants, danses, poésie et rituels à connotation religieuse originaires de toutes les Caraïbes.
JuilletDía de la Rebeldía Nacional (Cuba)commémoration de l’attaque manquée de Fidel Castro contre la caserne Moncada à Santiago de Cuba
JuilletCarnaval de Santiago de Cuba (Santiago de Cuba)carnaval avec chars, danseurs, rhum, rumba, etc.
AoûtFestival Internacional « Habana Hip-Hop » (La Havane)festival annuel du hip-hop avec improvisations et échanges d’idées.
AoûtCarnaval de La Havane (La Havane)Défilés, danses, musique, costumes bigarrés et impressionnantes effigies
SeptembreFestival Internacional de Música Benny Moré (Santa Isabel de las Lajas)fête bisannuelle rend hommage au Bárbaro del ritmo
SeptembreFiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad (Santiago)pèlerinage à la Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Cobre pour honorer la vénérée patronne de Cuba
OctobreFestival Internacional de Ballet de La Habana (La Havane)festival organisé par le Ballet national de Cuba : Expositions, galas, ballets classiques et contemporains
OctobreFestival del Bailador Rumbero (Matanzas)talentueux musiciens qui se produisent au Teatro Sauto
NovembreFiesta de los Bandos Rojo y Azul (Majagua)manifestations de la culture paysanne : la population se divise en deux équipes et s’affronte lors de concours de danse et de musique
NovembreMarabana (La Havane)Marathon
DécembreFestival Nacional de Changüí (Guantánamo)Festival musical
DécembreFestival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (La Havane)Festival international du film illustrant l’influence grandissante de Cuba sur le cinéma latino-américain.
DécembreProcesión de San Lázaro (Santiago de Las Vegas)Processions pratiquées par le chemin à genoux, à pieds afin d’exorciser les esprits malins ou en remerciement d’une grâce accordée.
DécembreLas Parrandas (Remedios)Chars et feux d’artifices
DécembreLas Charangas de Bejucal (Bejucal)Jeux d’équipes
JanvierDía de la Liberación (Cuba)Triomphe de la Révolution

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