Matanzas is known by its splendors, is criticized by its sunsets and its cultural variety is revered. A variety daughter of the mix of roots, the cluster of idiosyncrasies that came together to give with a happy end, a culture rich with traditions rooted in the Matanzas popular imagination .
One of those traditions, nourished for centuries by the descendants of the Iberian mother, is the festival dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat or Feast of the Colla, as it is popularly known. Our grandparents have the Catalans, revelry and accustomed to meeting on Sunday, walking along the heights of Simpson and saw there a piece of their land.
«In Catalonia the colla has two meanings: the first is associated with a kind of union, for example, winemakers, bakers and builders, and which gives its name to our festivities.
«The followers of the Virgin Moreneta wanted to build her a house in the mountains. The tradition emerged in 1875, when the Catalans residing here finished the chapel in honor of Monserrat in Spain, «said Roberto Ruesca, president of the Friends of the Spanish Culture.
He had already raised the chapel in the neighborhood of Simpson. Since the height of the small church the splendor of the city watched, as if it were a card given away for the occasion. Worthy reflection of the nostalgia of those who, out of their homeland, revered.
Until then the magnificent neoclassical church pilgrimage Spaniards settled in Matanzas and follow these steps today their children and grandchildren. «I have Spanish ancestors on both sides of my family. My grandparents came to Cuba in the nineteenth century from Catalonia and Galicia. I have dedicated myself to make part of the family tree of the family, with the places where they came from.
«Participating in the festival of the Colla is an exciting and moving experience because it is a very nice celebration of the descendants of Spain.
«I did not come since I was little, but I decided to start going again because my grandfather loved this tradition and we instilled attachment to Mother Spain, then being here is like back to my grandfather.»
In the chapel met, back in 1875, the Canaries, the first inhabitants of this city, Catalan, Galician and Asturian … ethnic groups who gave him this Matanzas cultural variety, mixed with the idiosyncrasies of Africa, Asia and Europe. The significance of the festivities goes beyond considering a celebration of our traditions, said Professor Ruesca.
«The Feast of the Colla is developed to pay tribute to the Virgin of Montserrat. This represents a space for Matanzas to rescue the history and Hispanic customs also belong to us and are part of the idiosyncrasy of Cubans. «
Next Sunday will be held December 6 party evoking the Catalan presence in the city of Matanzas again. One retreat Band Concert at Freedom Park and the traditional toast of fellowship will take place during the morning.
Subsequently, these accompany the pilgrimage of La Moreneta, patroness of Catalonia, to the sanctuary. It was fidelity to the traditions that turned Matanzas in the city that keeps alive one of the oldest Hispanic legacy, the Feast of the Colla.
«Following the Spanish Casino is built, and today Library Gener del Monte, the Hermitage goes on to become heritage of this,» said Perla Diaz Duran, president of the Asturian Casa de Matanzas.
«But Monserrate was always the focal point of Hispanic associations Matanzas. Few places in the world can boast of keeping a tradition alive as well. «
This becomes an appointment in safeguarding a tradition adopted by Matanzas, said Maria Dolores Rosik, president of the Society of Natural Charity Catalunya in Havana.
«In Catalonia also such activities are carried out, although this has its peculiarities as the toast of brotherhood and the journey to the heights of Monserrate. I think it’s very important to stay because a people that does not respect their traditions and history, has nothing. «
Diaz Duran also addressed the role of the younger generation in the rescue and protection of a longstanding tradition.
«Young people are the custodians of folklore and all that are responsible for continuing it.»
This December is celebrated the 140th anniversary of the feast of the Colla, back in 1875, but the Hermitage of Monserrate, guarded two years ago by a restored image Virgin Moreneta, remains a space in time with a perfect symbiosis of art and religion, Antanas symbolizes an encounter with traditions inherited by our people.
Original text byon Dec 4th, 2015