Sunday, 22 January 2012

Cuba: "Coming out"

On our day trip to Holguin, we were given an hour to wander around the town centre.  The Iglesia de San Jose was a destination a few blocks from the centre.  Unfortunately, it was closed and we only got a glimpse of the baroque interior through the locked gates.  But we came across an unexpected find in the plaza in front of the church - a 15 year old debutante's "coming out" ritual.  The public part of this started with her laying a bouquet at the memorial to dead revolutionary patriots (the irony of it!) in front of the church and then she was put in an open car and shown off to the whole town.  This seemed to be such an incongruous (not to mention capitalistic) ritual in the Cuban setting, that it caught us by surprise and on the way back on the minibus, I brought this up as a question about its compatibility with the rest of Cuban society.  The youthful Canadian tourists on the bus held various viewpoints about this, sparking a debate about communism and socialism - an unexpected bonus for us on what would have been just another touristy day trip in Cuba!

Iglesia San Jose

A glimpse of the interior through the gates

Here comes the debutante supported by parents

A carefully rehearsed and recorded offering of the bouquet at the memorial to patriots who died during the revolution

Walking carefully on the uneven stones

The exchange of glances between the debutante and the worker comrades

Poised and confident - obviously well-schooled

The parade through the streets

Where debutantes shop...

Next post:  The "general store" - where everyone else shops

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