If ever there was a great time to book a casa particular in Holguin, now it’s it! The eastern Cuban city famous for its Guardalvaca beach resort has a second claim to fame and that’s their Romerias de Mayo festivity, a joyous cultural explosion that began as a religious pilgrimage and has evolved into a major art event, mainly involving the city’s young talent!

 

The biggest young art party in Cuba is taking place this month in Holguin, which is why we think this is a great month to be staying in a casa particular in this part of the country, famous for its emerald Guardalavaca beaches.

At CubaCasa we’re about so much more than casas particulares in Havana, especially when there is one other city on the Cuban archipelago that is currently immersed in a major celebration. Holguin’s Romerias de Mayo brings about the perfect excuse to book yourself a Cuba holiday and discover young local talent at its best and brightest. Not only that, it’s the perfect occasion to discover a millennial tradition with the annual pilgrimage and ascension to Loma de la Cruz, a cross-topped hill with powerful cultural symbolism.

romerias de mayo in holguin
Citywide celebrations in Holguin with Romerias de Mayo

Even when Romerias de Mayo is no longer considered a religious celebration as such (though it started as an exclusively religious rite stemming from the tradition of locals to climb up the hill to pray before the giant cross at the top and ask for miracles) it retains some of its Christian roots and values. Initially, during the “Romerias de Mayo” locals made a pilgrimage from the San Isidoro church to the Loma de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) where a mass was held giving way to a citywide party that lasted for days.

Over time and especially after the triumph of the revolution (when Catholic festivities, in general, saw a major decline islandwide) Holguin’s annual May festivity was at risk of disappearing altogether.

Parades in Romerias de MayoIt was youngsters who rescued this old celebration some 26 years ago to give it a new meaning and purpose, moving away from its religious significance (but respecting its original religious meaning) and using it as an excuse to celebrate local culture, young local arts, and young aspiring artists.

Nowadays those who go to Holguin’s Romerias de Mayo (even better if they stay at a casa particular since the hosts will be full of tips on where to go, what to do and who to hang out with) can look forward to old traditions coming to live, plenty of opportunities to soak up provincial culture and plenty of places to party at!

This year the Romerias de Mayo will have major international participation with countries like Chile and Spain taking part. There will be parades, costumes, floats, and concerts to enjoy, including the now famous “ROCKmerias” where young local rockers rock it out with live performances. No doubt, the most authentic way to get acquainted with this part of Cuba!