How is Arab culture spilled into Cuba?
Arab culture remains one of the first cultures that leaked into the Cuban capital Havana through the spread of many aspects of Arab celebrations in the country, and the emergence of the characteristics of the Arab heritage of lines and paintings and customs and behavioral habits related to daily life and practices by the Arabs.
Manifestations of celebrations
The Middle East culture was one of the first things to leak to the Caribbean island with Havana as its capital, and the manifestations of Arab heritage have been widespread in Cuba since the birth of the state itself, explains Alice Ray in an article published on the Middle East Eye website. .
Describing Arab vigilance as a loud, celebratory cry, he said it was among the Arab manifestations that could be seen in Cuba after being divorced by Arab women amid an atmosphere of joy at weddings and special occasions.He said these Zagarid could be heard during a dance class inside the headquarters of the Arab Union in Cuba.
He adds that the Arabic letters and pharaonic paintings on the façade distinguish the balcony of the two-storey building, from schools, hotels and shops nearby, scattered along the street full of columns.
|Manifestations of Arab culture spread in the Cuban capital Havana through many activities and customs (Getty Images)|
Ten Cuban girls between the ages of 8 and 12 are dancing during a summer course run by the Arab Union in Cuba wearing different colors of the hijab. The union was founded 40 years ago and includes people from the Middle East.
"We dance a mix of flamingo and Arabic dance, which is very popular with Cuban dance companies," says one girl. "I don't have an Arab heritage, but I like this style!"
Alice Ray points out that the Italian traveler Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic and arrived in the Caribbean islands in October 1492, less than a year before the fall of Granada, the last Muslim country on the Iberian Peninsula.
He said that Islam was established during the previous seven centuries in Andalusia, and that Arabic food, language and dance are inseparable elements of the Spanish culture, which then reached the Caribbean Sea with Columbus ships.
The writer adds that the Arab influence still exists after five centuries, and that it can be seen and know, and that the examples of varied between the Maghreb rice consisting of rice and black beans, and the long entrances that open to high-rise interior courtyards characterized by art reminiscent of ancient Arab cities.
|Shawarma is one of the most popular Arabic dishes in Cuba (Getty Images)|
The writer says that the Arabs have an impact on the origin of the "Guiapira" (Cuba's distinctive shirt), and they were prominent in the textile industry before Vidal Castro came to power in 1959.
He points to mass migrations from different parts of Arabia to Cuba, and to the concrete manifestations of Arab culture in ancient Havana dating back to the 17th century.He said that the stately Arab House building housed a museum of Arab heritage and a prayer room until Turkey and Saudi Arabia built a chapel and mosque in 2015 and 2017 respectively. .
The writer attributes the museum's director and historian Rigoberto Menendez, who described the Arab presence in Cuba as "very influential" and that it stems from the solidarity that Cuba has exercised with the various Arab peoples in their struggle for independence and justice.
The author says that there are as many as 50,000 descendants of Arab immigrants in Cuba today, that he was able to identify about a thousand versions of Latin Arabic names among Cuban families, and that Cuba's assimilation of Arabs was much easier than in other Latin American countries because of the absence of hatred for Cuban government towards foreigners and its need to emigrate in the early twentieth century.
He points out that the largest Arab exodus took place between 1860 and 1920, and that most of the migrants were from Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.