Christmas in Cuba

Christmas in Cuba

Christmas seems to be one of the biggest dates on the calendar for many cultures – although that’s not to say that’s the case for all! In fact, the land of our beloved Cuban cigars seems to one of the places where Christmas isn’t such a big deal. We know this may come as a surprise considering it’s a predominantly Catholic country – so we thought we’d share the interesting history, as to why Christmas isn’t a huge deal to our Cuban friends.

Fidel Castro Smoking a Cigar. EGM Cigars

Source: ABC NEWS.


CHRISTMAS WITH CASTRO – Fidel Castro was the famous Communist leader of Cuba from 1959 until 2008. He came to be a huge figure in the cigar world, as it was he who helped lead to the creation of Cohiba Cigars – the best-selling brand out of all our cigars for sale online! Anyway, he transformed the country and the way it worked – with one of his changes being the fact Cuba was declared an atheist country, in 1962. We bet you’re thinking: how is this all relevant to Christmas? Well, in 1969 Castro abolished the Christmas holiday – meaning that Cubans had to go to work and school, as usual on the 25th December. Now, there are several reasons for his decision – the official one being the fact that workers having the day off interfered with the sugar cane harvest. But, he also felt that with Cuba being an atheist country, it meant there was no need for the religious celebration. 


WHAT ABOUT NOW? – Christmas was abolished for almost 30 years, with only a few civilians discreetly celebrating the holiday. It wasn’t until 1997 that the government announced they would be re-introducing the holiday for one year only – in honour of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Cuba in 1998. Since then, Christmas has been re-established as a public holiday. Although, where the celebration is somewhat new to the country – it’s not as deeply ingrained in their culture as it is in most of western society. It’s just not a huge deal to them and although practically everyone celebrates the holiday, they tend not to buy into the commercialism that surrounds it in other places. It’s more a day for people to reconnect with their family and celebrate faith - for those who want to. It’s an ever-evolving holiday for the Cubans, as it seems to be growing in importance each year, as more and more decorations appearing. Whilst stores and restaurants remain open, schools and offices are closed – allowing people to enjoy their time off.

The Streets of Havana. EGM Cigars

The Streets of Havana.


TRADITIONS AND FESTIVITIES – It seems that the Christmas music and decorations don’t flood the streets from the moment November starts, as it does for a lot of us. But if you’re taking a stroll through Havana it’s common to come across decorated storefronts with their Christmas trees and fir wreaths up during December. The modest decorations are few and far between – whilst also holding no religious connection. There’s also no lighting events or Christmas parades for the public to attend. As you can tell, there really is very little fuss around Christmas and whilst it’s celebrated by almost everyone in Cuba – it’s truly about cherishing time with your loved ones.


NOCHEBUENA – So, it’s pretty obvious that there are more important days to the people of Cuba than Christmas and funnily enough one of those happens to be Christmas eve. Plenty of the festivities happen to take place on Christmas eve or ‘Nochebuena’ – as they call it. This literally translates to good night – just as they intend for it to be. Midnight mass takes place on this night and they make sure to mark the day beforehand. They’ll have their big family dinner and perhaps even enjoy a good smoke afterwards. The Cohiba Esplendidos Cigar would be a great post-dinner pick. They’ll also celebrate over a few drinks – the Partagas Aristocrats Cigar is one of our Cuban cigars online that go down great with a glass of liquor. 

And that’s a Cuban Christmas for you! We’re sure plenty of you will be celebrating with cigars this festive season – so don’t forget that today’s the day for you to place your last orders from our Cuban cigar shop before the big day. Don’t forget to check out our Cuban cigar blog to discover more about the world of Cuban cigars: 

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