In a meeting attended by Gladys Collazo, president of the National Council of Cultural Heritage and Yaima Esquivel, Cuba´s permanent representative in UNESCO, the parrandas have been declared Inmaterial Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
For those of us who were born in other regions of Cuba, be it Eastern or Western Cuba, the parrandas of the central region might resemble those festivals or cultural festivals of each territory that we name carnivals. But it is enough to talk and listen to any “parrandero” to understand that it is a different party from the carnival. Of course, it has similarities: wide popular participation, the use of “congas,” pyrotechnics and a parade of floats.
The difference lies in the sense of belonging with which communities come to identify with each other. It is an inherited tradition, handed down by grandparents, learned in the daily struggle and witnessed every year for over two centuries.
Parranderos celebrate it as only they know how to do it: partying.