Tiffany D. West
I had the opportunity to explore the Cuban culture in various ways. In completing my project, I was able to skype with family members who were visiting Cuba and I had the opportunity to be on vacation and attend a church service and restaurant event that gave great insight on how the Cuban culture worships and interacts with one another.
What events did you attend? What Happened?
The events that I attended to focus on the Cuban culture were a church service and a restaurant event. The worship service that I attended was at a Catholic Church. Roman Catholicism is the prevailing religion on the Cuban culture. Being that I am Baptist, there were some things that I was unaware of and did not understand through the service. However, for the most part, the service consisted of singing, scripture, prayer, communion and the delivery of the message. I found the service to be very “quiet” from what I am used to. Although, I was not used to the type of worship that took place, it still felt very welcoming. The attire for the service was, to my surprise, what I was used to seeing in my own church. The people were very respectful and were very focused on their worship. It was obvious that they had a great respect for the leader of their church as well as the people within the church.
I also attended an event at a restaurant owned by a Cuban friend of my family. The event was a “Night Out” and it was filled with all the things from a Cuban Culture, especially the food and people. The people of Cuba truly involve themselves in food and entertainment. They cooked, they ate, and they danced and celebrated throughout the night. Although many of them did not know one another or were not related, they still welcomed each other. The food that was prepared consisted of fried chicken, pork, beans and rice. They also served lamb, beef and goat. I was able to try much of the food however, I had my limits. I will say that the food was nicely prepared and smelled great, however, there were a few dishes that I did not try. Throughout the night, the people focused on music and entertaining. The music that we heard was performed by the Cubans themselves. They used instruments that they had made and that sounded extraordinary. The music was jazz and some upbeat music that they performed synchronized dance moves to. By the end of the night, I was exhausted but they seemed to be able to continue on.
How did your experience of actual cultural events compare with the expectations you had developed from the readings and internet research you did in part 1?
The experiences that I versus the research that I completed shared a great deal of the same insight. However, actually being a part of the events and being able to see how the people in Cuba participated in their daily lives and worshipped was still different. I think the one thing that was obvious that I wasn’t able to gather from research is that the people of Cuba share a great respect for their culture and their people. In my research, I found that it described how they enjoyed food and entertaining but to actually see that was an understatement. My expectation of the culture was that they would be somewhat reluctant to allowing other cultures to be involved and be somewhat unacceptable. However, in both instances, I felt very welcomed. After explaining what my purpose was, they were very willing to share information and to allow me to see fully just how they interacted with one another and how they take pride in their culture. The research did set a good background and gave insight to what was to be expected. Cubans, as with any other culture, are sometimes stereotyped but the one thing that I found is that they are just like any other culture. They want their culture to be respected and they want to be able to celebrate and enjoy their culture like any other. While researching, I