Traditions and Customs in Havana

The customs and traditions vary according to the people and the places that make up each neighborhood or locality, among the most significant in Havana are:

  • The Cannon of the 9 O´Clock

    The sound of a cannon shot, from the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, announces to the habaneros that it’s 9:00 p.m. Until 1863, when the walls that surrounded and protected Havana from the attacks of corsairs and pirates collapsed, that gunshot indicated the imminent closure of the stone belt doors.

  • The Templete “Ceiba Tree”

    On November 16, 1519, in the shadow of a ceiba tree that existed on the northeast side of what would be the Plaza de Armas, the first mass was celebrated in Havana and the first city hall was built. Mark the date of the foundation of the city. Thousands of people every year on this date turn around the ceiba and ask it for wishes.

  • The Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of San Lazaro (December 17th)

    Annually in the second and third week of December to pay tribute to the saint who is popularly considered miraculous, in favor of the sick people.

  • The Carnival of Havana

    It is one of the most long-awaited celebrations of Cuba. Every year in the summer this gigantic popular festival is celebrated with the participation of troupes and floats on the coast of Havana.

  • To touch the finger and beard of the Knight of Paris

    The Knight of Paris appears in front of the façade of the Minor Basilica of the Convent of San Francisco de Asís, on Oficios street. This popular character was a famous homeless man who began his journey through the city in the 50s of the 20th century. A type of Havanan Quixote whose real name was José María López Lledín, used to dress in black, and left his mark and legend in dissimilar spaces of Havana. His sculpture, like that of Hemingway, also belongs to the artist José Villa Soberón. Both the index finger of his right hand and his beard shine in a particular way, as people caress them as they pass, as if it were a miracle worker. They say that touching the finger and the beard of the Knight of Paris attracts luck.