Cuban Holidays

Since Cuba is officially an atheist state, Cuban holidays are not based on any religious observances. The one exception is Christmas, which only became a national holiday in 1998 to honor the visit of Pope John Paul II. The rest of the holidays in Cuba are:

January 1 – Triumph of the Revolution

The day after Batista left in the night, is considered the day Fidel Castro’s revolution won in 1959.

May 1 – Labour Day

Like Labour Day in most other countries, celebrating those in the work force.

July 25 to 27 – Commemoration of the Assault on the Moncada Garrison

A historical date of remembrance on July 26th 1953, when Castro’s revolutionary forces attacked a garrison in Santiago de Cuba. Their attack was repelled, but that was the first action of the upcoming revolution against Fulgencio Batista. The days before and after this day are also considered public holidays.

May 20 – Independence Day

In 1868, this was the day that Carlos Manuel de Cespedes began to fight against the Spanish for Cuban independence.

December 25 – Christmas

As mentioned above, this only became a holiday in 1998 due to a visit from the Pope.

I’ve used the English names for the holidays, but in Spanish they are:

  • Jan 1 – Triunfo de la Revolución
  • May 1 – Día de los trabajadores
  • July 26 – Asalto al cuartel Moncada, or also known as Día de la Rebeldia Nacional
  • May 20 – Dia de la Independencia
  • Dec 26 – Navidad

These are the official Cuban holidays where most shops will be closed, and public transportation will be minimal. If you are visiting Cuba on any of these days, adjust your plans accordingly.

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