The popular events, feasts and festivals held in Havana embody the perfect mix of traditional and modern Cuba. Religion, popular wisdom, institutional history, recreation and games, and all kinds of world-class cultural activities make a packed calendar that is active all year round. In sum, Havana is a city where there is always something happening. Being part of some of these celebrations is like getting a slice of Cuban culture.
Major events in Havana
- December/January – El Cañoñazo de las Nueve in El Morro: Every day at 9pm, the old castle of El Morro, in the heart of Havana, a cannon is fired to remember the time when the city’s fort was closed in colonial times. Today, visitors find the ceremony amazing.
- 1 January – Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution: Every year on New Year’s Day, Havana celebrates the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. All the activities taking place in town on this day are centred on this major event in Cuban history.
- February – International Book Fair: In February, La Cabaña fort in Havana turns into a huge open-air bookstore. Every year, the Havana Book Fair pays tribute to a Cuban writer and a guest country. In March, the fair moves to other Cuban provinces.
- April – La Habana Vieja International Festival: A Moving City: In April, all sorts of artistic expressions seize the streets of Old Havana. The result is a noisy and creative atmosphere that wraps everyone in. There are street performances, classical and modern dance shows, arts and crafts markets, street parades, square concerts… This event is part of the Dancing Cities International Network.
- 1 May – Workers’ Day: On 1 May, the crowds fill Plaza de la Revolución for a deeply-rooted celebration, held since Fidel Castro came to power. A few years ago, the main activity used to be the speech delivered by Castro to his numerous, loving audience.
- June – Santa Blues Festival: This young festival, first held in 2005, is targeted at blues lovers. There are concerts in several venues on Thursday, Friday and Saturday throughout June. The festival draws international artists.
- July – Havana Carnival: Carnival is the most important feast in Cuba. Laughing Habaneros dressed in colourful costumes dance and parade down the streets until dawn. The capital is transmogrified. On the whole, the show is amazing.
- 16 July – Feast of Our Lady of El Carmen: Cojímar, a village 7km away from Centro Habana, pays tribute to its Patroness in style. The religious feast is on the same day as the anniversary of the foundation of the village. There is dancing, traditional food and tons of joy.
- September – Havana International Theatre Biennale: Cuba is passionate about the theatre, among many other things. Every two years, in September, Havana gets ready for a big theatre festival, drawing troupes from all over the world to perform at several of the city’s halls and venues.
- October/November – Havana International Ballet Festival: The Grand Theatre plays host to this big dance festival, which has been held for half a century now. The Havana International Ballet Festival shows the world the virtuosity and potential of classical dance in Cuba.
- December – International Festival of New Latin American Cinema: One of the most important cultural events held in Havana, this festival fills the city with references to films for ten days. The selected films are screened in different venues in town.
- Late December – International Jazz Plaza Festival: Considered as one of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, this event draws lots of international jazz musicians and fans to Havana. There are concerts by artists who have made significant contributions to this music style.