British Culture Week is well underway in Cuba, and if the first couple of days have passed you by, there's still loads to get involved in! Read on and find out more!
British Culture Week, Cool Britannia here in Cuba
It's official - Britishness is still cool. From the British musical invasion of the swinging 60s, the hip fashion from the King's Road in the 70s, to "Cool Britannia" in the 90s, Britishness is something to celebrate!
That's why from 27th November to 8th December, the UK Embassy in Havana is celebrating British Culture Week. And, just like in previous years, they're going all out with a series of exciting events scheduled every single day!
What have the Brits ever done for us?
When you think about it, Cuba and Britain have quite a lot in common. Both are small islands on a global scale, but both punch above their weight when it comes to exporting their culture.
Aside from Britain's most obvious export, the English language, now the planet's lingua franca, think of everything else that has come out of that little green blob west of Europe.
We're talking submarines, the first telephone, the telescope, the first steam-powered device, the steam engine, electrostatic motors, the first-ever vaccine, tarmac, electric generators, Shakespeare, the light bulb, the Analytical Engine - grandfather of the modern computer, the bicycle, fax machines, hypodermic syringes, a method for classifying fingerprints in forensic investigation, LEDs, the wireless, tanks, televisions, the jet engine and jet airliners, football, cricket, rugby, digital computers, calculators, high strength carbon fibre, laptops, the world wide web, the Rolls Royce, the Aston Martin, Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Minis, James Bond, SMSs, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Oasis, Amy Winehouse, Adele, animal cloning, and Yorkshire Puddings. You can't say the Brits have been idle over the last couple of centuries.
"According to a Japanese research firm, over 40% of the world's inventions and discoveries were made in the UK, followed by France with 24% of the world's inventions and discoveries made in France and followed by the US with 20%." - Wikipedia
So what better way to celebrate all these things than Havana's British Culture Week!
So what's on at British Culture Week?
Starting this Saturday 4th December, there's Dance Night from 8.30 pm at the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, followed by more dance and choreography by Billy Cowie and Cathy Marston from 5:00 pm on Sunday 5th December.
Celeste has been nominated for "Album of the Year", "Best Female Solo Artist" and "Best New Artist" at the 2021 Brit Awards, as well as the 2021 Mercury Prize. In the same year, Celeste was also nominated for the Academy Awards for "Best Original Song" for co-writing "Hear My Voice" from the film "The Trial of the Chicago 7" (2020).
On Wednesday 8th, Carlos Acosta will be hosting Brit Talk (not all anglophones speak with an American accent!), and you can learn all about the fascinating accents around the British Isles on Facebook and Twitter using @UKinCuba.
Then, Thursday 9th December will see a presentation by the British Council entitled "Diversity and inclusion in schools through the teaching of the English language", one not to be missed.
If the famous English invention of football is your thing, Saturday 11th December is a day you may like to get involved! At 10:00 am Rovers are playing Hatuey before a tournament "Premier League Cuba" kicking off at 1:00 pm.
Then, on Saturday evening at the Anfiteatro del Centro Historico, Pride is being shown at the open-air cinema from 7:00 pm till 9:00 pm, before Suffragette from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Finally, on Sunday 12th December, at Plaza San Francisco de Asis, there's a show on classic British cars from 10:00 am. Enough to make any petrol-head purr, even if you thought you weren't that into cars, the British have made some classics over the years, from the Bentley and the Lotus to the McClaren and the Jaguar, some of which are still roaming the streets of our beautiful island.
Cuba and the UK, keeping our ties across the Atlantic
Cuba and the United Kingdom have longstanding ties that go back centuries. Remember the occupation of Havana by Lord Albermarle that left us with phrases like "la hora de los mameyes". Nowadays, many tourists from Britain choose to visit Cuba for its stunning beaches, fascinating history, vibrant cities and musical culture, and the relationship has never been stronger.
British Culture Week in Havana will consolidate the cultural ties among artists and performers from both countries, with the support of the British Embassy in Havana, the British Council and the Cuban Ministry of Culture.
Come along and see what another small island with a strong sense of identity is all about!