‘Feliciadades’: The Word the Taunts the Official Sobriety

On Cuban streets, the word “felicidades” is heard everywhere. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 December 2016 — Few details reveal that it is Christmastime for Cubans. The austerity imposed this year-end, promoted from the Government due the recent death of former President Fidel Castro, but also because of the economic situation that has citizens worried. Faced with high food prices many opt for more low-key celebrations.

However, the word “felicidades” is heard everywhere in the streets. As if it were a “watchword,” Cubans offer good wishes accompanied with a complicit smile when they pronounce the word. Is it a way to mock the official sobriety? A sign of the desire not to let the Christmas festivities fade completely away?

Said in an undertone, shouted balcony to balcony, or intoned to the rhythm of Mexican music, like the “mariachi” in the photo, the phrases of this happy greeting take the place of the lack of garlands, the few houses in Cuban streets that display seasonal lights, and the absence of public dancing, otherwise typical of this time of year.