October 20th, 1868. After composing the notes of La Bayamesa, in the midst of the noise of the villagers, Perucho Figueredo listened when his march was intoned and the people seconded it. Mounted on his horse, he extracted a sheet of paper from his wallet, crossed his leg over the saddle and wrote the lyrics of our National Anthem.
Thus, on October 20th, 1868, in the first free city of Cuba, the birth of the Hymn of Bayamo was completed. That fact marked a transcendental moment in the history of Cuba, that is why on this date the Cuban Culture Day is celebrated.
Cuban culture is a melting pot where cultural manifestations from three continents merge: Europe, Africa and Asia, which gave it a dimension of universality.
From across the seas, the conquistadors arrived from Spain in their ships and as a consequence of that feat, the aborigines disappeared in barely 40 years, victims of unknown diseases, mistreatment, the fire of the arquebuses and the blows of the swords.
The enslaved men, women and children were then brought from Africa to work for the development of the growing plantation economy.
Chinese Culíes, French settlers from Haiti fleeing from the hosts of Toussaint L’Ouverture, North Americans, Swedes, Japanese, Jews, enriched the amalgam of cultures that fertilized the Creole culture.
From this diversity arose unity, a culture of its own that developed over the centuries and is the product of the greatest of miscegenation.
October 20th, Culture Day, is a day of all, which exhibits as support a rich history and whose present celebration is preceded by a creative explosion of the generality of the artistic and cultural manifestations of the nation, increasingly open to the world, which attends expectantly to a new, real, unspoken phenomenon: in Cuba culture is alive and Cuba lives in its culture.
Writen by Jessica Mesa Duarte.