Remedios is home to Las Parrandas, a festival which has taken place since the 18th century!
Parrandas were born in the 18th century when Father Francisco Vigil de Quiñones, the priest of the Grand Cathedral of Remedios, had the idea to put together groups of children and provide them with jars, plates and spoons so they could run around the village making noise and singing verses, in order to get the people to come to midnight masses the week before Christmas. The idea became a tradition and evolved over the years to become the massive street party that has remained until today.
Rituals and procedures were invented, such in 1871 when it was decided that the ringing of the church bells at 9pm on Christmas Eve, would signal the summoning of competing neighborhoods to present their parades. Nowadays, there are 2 teams that come from traditional barrios in the town:
- San Salvador which uses the colours red and blue and who's symbol is the rooster
- El Carmen which uses the colour brown and has a globe as its symbol
In 1980 the Parrandas Musuem was opened in Remedios in one of the many old buildings in the town. It chronicles the history of the festival with photos, documents and other related items.
During the day time, stroll the small town taking in the sights and sounds of the local Cuban people.
During the evening, PARTY with an amazing fireworks show unlike you have ever seen. There are also floats, music and dances.
Best time to visit
Las Parrandas occurs from December 16th and culminates on December 24th going until the early morning hours of December 25th.
Remedios is located 4 hours East of Havana. Due to current regulations, Americans should fly to Havana and then rent a driver to get to Remedios.
USA citizens staying in Cuba have to declare a reason on their passport, and the most frequent is "Support for the Cuban People". How does this relate to lodging? Well - stay at a Casa Particular owned by a Cuban and you are directly supporting Cuban people!
Casa Particulars are even listed on Airbnb now, making them extremely easy to find and use. You can also get local recommendations.