Cuba: Caribbean Festival of Fire Closes With Devil Burning Ceremony

Santiago de Cuba, Jul 10 (Prensa Latina):  A flood of people danced the conga down to Puerto Santiago to watch the traditional Burning of the Devil ceremony, closing the activities of the 32nd Caribbean Festival.

On the final day, the artist Alberto Lescay and the high priest of the Regla Palo Monte in this eastern Cuban city presented the Mpaka “symbol of the holiday” to the Deputy Minister of Culture for Colombia, Maria Claudia Lopez, and the Ambassador of that South American nation in Cuba, Gustavo Bell.

In this way, the small island of Martinique, guest of honor for the holiday, passed the guest baton to the culture of Colombia’s Caribbean, motherland of the vallenato and the famous Barranquilla Carnival.

After the customary blessing of the Santiago people, the jubilant procession began to close the Festival of Fire, which is just as colorful and spiritually generous as the popular Parade of the Snake, which happened just a few days ago.

From the Plaza de Martes to the sea, various groups danced the conga, demonstrating traditional culture of the Greater Caribbean.

Foreign delegations, including countries such as Argentina and Uruguay, contributed their own music, dances and costumes, displaying the diversity of identity in this region.

The Conga de los Hoyos, the most acclaimed in this city, brought a virtual sea of people dancing down the central street of Enramada toward the sea.

There, a giant woven stick figure metaphorically representing the Devil at this bacchanal, was cremated, exorcising evil spirits and thus, ensuring well-being until next year.

For original report: Caribbean Festival of Fire Closes

By Ken Archer

I am an ethnomusicologist, who obtained my doctoral degree at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. My areas of interests include the musical, ritual, and celebratory traditions of the circum-Caribbean and the African Diaspora.

I worked as a lecturer at the Columbus and Marion Campuses of the Ohio State University, where I taught classes in World Music, Rock and Roll/American Popular Music, Western Art Music, and directed the OSU Steel Pan ensemble.