7 Traditions Only Cubans Can Understand

If you’ve ever visited Cuba or spent time with Cubans, you may have heard some pretty strange traditions and superstitions you won’t find anywhere else.

7 Traditions Only Cubans Can Understand

In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most common ones so you can learn more about Cuba’s fascinating traditions. 

The ‘Open Door’ Policy 

Let’s kick things off with the open door policy. If there’s one thing Cubans are famous for, it’s for being infamously hospitable and kind.

It’s just one thing that makes Cuba a popular destination for tourists. 

In Cuba, there’s one very clear way this is expressed, usually through an open door policy.

Take a walk through some of Cuba’s local towns, and you’ll probably notice that many people leave their front doors open – if you’re friends or neighbors with someone in Cuba, this is a sign that you’re always welcome to stop by and say hi.

If the door is open, you’re free to stop by, and you’ll always have a friend in your neighborhood!

You may even notice the lack of fenced properties around Cuba. If properties are fenced, these fences are usually small and have been erected solely to keep pets in.

This type of openness isn’t something you see everywhere, and it’s just one of the many traditions loved by all who live in and visit Cuba. 

Cuban Superstitions

Now, let’s take a look at some of those infamous Cuban superstitions. 

Sure, superstitions as a whole aren’t unique to Cuba, but if you visit Cuba or know Cubans well, you may have heard of some rather unique superstitions that you won’t hear in most other places.

So let’s take a look at some unique Cuban superstitions that you’ll know if you’re Cuban or spending time there on your travels. 

‘The Rocking Chair’

If you’ve ever sat up from a rocking chair in Cuba and let it swing, you’re sharing a symbol of death.

When you get off a rocking chair, you should always keep it stationary to avoid bringing bad luck to those around you. 

Keep Hold Of Your Purse 

Cubans are also superstitious about purses. So if you’re carrying a purse in Cuba, you’ll need to keep it off the floor… otherwise, your money will run away from you. Yes, really! 

‘Itchy Palms’ 

Thankfully, this one isn’t all doom and gloom. But, if your palms have been particularly itchy recently, it’s a good sign that plenty of money is coming your way soon! 

Christmas And New Years Traditions 

7 Traditions Only Cubans Can Understand

One other thing that Cubans are known well for is their Christmas and New Years’ traditions.

So it’s safe to say that here in Cuba, we do things a little differently, and the rest of the world is truly fascinated by it. 

If you’re not familiar with the Christmas and New Years’ Traditions of Cuba, let us walk you through them. 

In Cuba, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas eve rather than Christmas day. The traditional Christmas meal isn’t what you might think, either.

The family will gather in the backyard to feast on a whole pig that’s carefully cured and prepared.

This is the ideal time for families and friends to gather and be together, and essentially, it’s one big party!

Because this event is held on Christmas eve, Christmas day tends to be more about recovering from the antics of the night before. 

New Years’ eve traditions are also a little different from the rest of the world.

In Cuba, there’s a firmly held belief that burning an effigy on New Year’s Eve is a great way to get rid of any bad things that happened in the year.

Burning an effigy symbolizes the death of these unwanted events and any regrets or bad memories that might be associated with them.

Once the effigy is burned, you’ll see plenty of fireworks being set off to celebrate the good we all hope to see in the next year.  

Wedding Traditions 

Cubans also have some pretty unique wedding traditions that you might not see in other parts of the world. So let’s explore some of the most unique ones below. 

‘The Money Dance’ 

This one is as fun as it sounds. If you ever find yourself at a Cuban wedding, you’ll be expected to help the newlyweds pay for the honeymoon.

This isn’t a tradition that’s unique to Cuba, but what IS unique is the way that the money is gifted. 

As the bride starts dancing, several people will begin to pin money on her dress as a way of helping out with the honeymoon.

This is a big part of Cuban weddings; you’ll find it at almost everyone you go to! Those who usually dance with the bride and pin money to her dress are men. 

All single ladies at the party are also expected to wear special pins turned upside down, and there’s usually some pretty extravagant gift-giving involved.

Other traditions can be seen in other parts of the world, such as the bouquet toss and the first dance. 

‘Gordita’ 

If you’re Cuban, you’ve spent time in Cuba, or you know Cuban people, you may have heard the term ‘Gordita.’

In Cuba, it’s a tradition to refer to female friends, family members, and daughters as ‘Gordita’. 

Gordita is a term of endearment, and it’s widely accepted in Cuba.

It usually means ‘cutie’, but in Spanish, the term is the equivalent to ‘fatty’ or ‘little fat one’, which can cause some confusion to those unfamiliar with the term.

Rest assured, though, if a Cuban calls you ‘Gordita’, you’re not being insulted! 

The Red And Blue Fiesta 

One of the most infamous traditions in Cuba is the red and blue fiesta.

The red and blue fiesta, or ‘Fiesta of the Red and Blue, ’ usually happens in early November in the town of Majagua in Ciego de Avila. 

At Fiesta of the Red and Blue, people dance, eat traditional Cuban food, and partake in plenty of regional ceremonies, and it’s one of the most respected traditions and celebrations in Cuba. 

This festival usually takes place in the island’s center, and you can expect plenty of music and competitions.

This festival is the perfect opportunity for tourists, and even Cuban locals, to learn more about Cuban history and culture. 

The town is usually split into red and blue sides, and everyone is free to choose which side they go on.

These sides will then face off in spectacular dance battles, a tradition that attracts plenty of tourists and visitors each year. It’s the perfect opportunity to get a taste of country life! 

The Unusual Approach To Baby Names 

Lastly, some Cubans can also have an unusual approach to baby names.

Although some Cubans will prefer to stick to traditional baby names, there are others who will create their own unique names for their children. 

Sometimes, these names can be a collection of names from other relatives, and occasionally, they’re completely made up!

Some of these names can be incredibly challenging to pronounce, and their abbreviations can be even trickier, so navigating your way around this cultural quirk may be challenging if you’re not familiar with it. 

The Bottom Line 

Each country has its own unique quirks and traditions. It’s what makes us stand out from the crowd while, at the same time, promoting a unique sense of unity between our people.

Cuba has its own unique set of traditions, and now you’re familiar with the most popular ones, you’ll know what to expect when you’re visiting the area or spending time with other Cubans!

Jim Stanton
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