Festivities of the Virgen del Cobre
The Virgen del Cobre is found in the National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity in Santiago de Cuba and was declared patron of Cuba in 1916. Legend has it that three fishermen went to look for salt in Nipe Bay, when there a storm was occurred that the small boat and its three crew members was put at risk. After praying for protection, the storm was disappeared and they was discover a floating image. It was the Virgen del Cobre.
In the 19th century, coinciding with a time of massive emigration of people to Cuba in search of a better future, a neighbor who traveled to this Caribbean island brought the image to venerate it and keep it at his home in the Los Quemados Since then it has remained at the same address, being cared for and preserved by Ms. Antonia Cabrera Hernández (Delfina) until today.
By tradition, it is known that at the end of the 19th century and until the end of the 1950s, the festivities in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre were celebrated in the neighborhood. Many residents of the town who lived at that time, remember with special affection of the celebration of this endearing festival.
The festivities that normally took place in the month of July lasted three days, coinciding with a weekend. The start of the party was announced by a “rain of fireworks” that broke the tranquility and silence of a neighborhood that awaited the beginning of some long-awaited and desired festivities. Numerous acts were held, both festive and religious in nature: sack race, Caballos Fuscos race, dances and festivals in the Plaza de Los Quemados (Plaza de la Amistad), parades, an allegorical float that represented Spain and some of its territories, in which some women from the neighborhood dressed in the typical costume of each region, made for the corresponding offerings. The theater also had its place in these festivities, representing some popular comedies and whose participants were always residents of the neighborhood.
The Virgin of La Caridad del Cobre was moved from the home of Antonia Cabrera Hernández to the neighborhood school where it remained on an altar decorated with great care by the neighbors. There it remained next to the image of the Child Jesus and Thanksgiving to the Virgin was celebrated as well as various songs of motets and litanies. From there, the main day of celebration of the festival on Sunday, both images were moved to the square of the neighborhood where the Loa was sung.
One of the main and most anticipated events by all the residents and that is still remembered with special affection, took place during a break from the festival on the main day of the celebration of the festival, staging the appearance of the Virgen del Cobre the three fishermen in the middle of a storm. Then, a dialogue between the Virgin and the three fishermen was interpreted. These characters were represented by a girl and three boys from the neighborhood. The Caballos Fuscos also had their appearance that in a parade and carrying fireworks traveled the road of the neighborhood until they reached the square where they danced to the sound of their music. The party ended on the third day with the election of a new president and butler, in charge of organizing the party for the following year, and a dance in honor of the newly elected president. in the Plaza de la Amistad.