On 20 October Cuba celebrate their national day of culture ‘Jornada de la Cultura Cubana’. The main events take place each year 17-20 October in Bayamo, in the eastern province of Granma forming the Fiesta de la Cubanía, as well a many other cultural events across the country. The day also marks the anniversary of the first time the National Anthem was sung. The renowned pianist and composer Frank Fernández is directing the big musical gala bringing together two top bands: the Original de Manzanillo and Adalberto Álvarez and his Son, who will share the stage with the Bayamo Symphony Orchestra.
How did 20 October became National day of culture?
The struggle for Cuban independence (from Spain), is said to have begun on October 10, 1868, when Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed his slaves and demanded independence for the island and abolition of slavery. According to historians at that time people wanted a song to sing like a Cuban version of the French revolutionary anthem The Marseillaise.
Pedro Figueredo eventually composed the music and lyrics for a song, first sung a year later. As the story goes, in August 1870 Figueredo was shot dead by Spanish troops, but with his head up, still singing ‘La Bayamesa’, the song which became the Cuban National Anthem. The manuscript of his handwritten song is still preserved.