Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three Kings Day: Abakuá day in Cuba

Three Kings Day circa 1850 painted by the french painter Frederic Mialhe.

Happy New Year!!! January 6th is Abakuá day in Cuba. On this day all the different cabildos and Abakuá lodges celebrate their different traditions, dances and masquerades during colonial times. It symbolized a subtle demonstration of power and numbers where the colonial governor would give the aguinaldo or the offering of gold pieces to each of the cabildos and lodges. They used their earnings to buy the freedom of captive brothers and sisters in bondage. For the Abakuá it is also one of the best examples of synthesis that laid the groundwork for a very sophisticated culture of resistance and adaptation.