Burning of the Saint John’s Doll

The Popular and Traditional Festivals of San Juan date back to the San Juan neighborhood of Pueblo Nuevo at the beginning of the year 1915. The references that appear reflect the church as the guide of this action that was followed not only by its parishioners, but for the entire population.

Arrived on June 23 there were multiple activities; concert bands, food and clothing sales, competitions and the renowned tour of San Juan Bautista Patron of the neighborhood through its streets. Officially, this was the space that appeared in activity programs such as loos that were distributed among the settlers, while the festivities had another face, San Juan Bautista mixed and / or syncretized with the African Oggun Orisha brought with it other songs, touches and people who, At the rate of rum, tobacco smoke, toasted corn, coconut, drum and joy they closed on the 23rd and received on June 24.

First, the blessing activity by the priest of the church, the feast of the whites, while late in the afternoon, cajons of cod, güiros and bembes began to sound in various ways to burn the doll to San Juan, giving entrance to the possibility of bathing in the Matanzas beaches and eliminate diseases that could come from the sea or avoid drowning. Take to ’the bad, blessed saint john, my blessed warrior,

The burning of the doll to San Juan occurred in various ways depending on the group or family that carried it out, in the middle of the four corners, on the banks of the San Juan river at the end of Calle San Ignacio or on the ground floor of the well-known Puente de the Plaza, at the mouth of the river with the sea, there is even a mention of a procession started in the church park where the priest blessed the doll and it was burned when he turned the park or he continued through the streets to the river crossing the Tirry Bridge.

There are many stories that are told of this moment that the neighborhood enjoyed very much and that for reasons of life it disappeared without hope of being born again for almost 47 years. The house of culture Bonifacio Byrne tried to rescue it on more than one occasion, but there was no permanence in the action; So through other projects the procession through councils, houses, temples and the burning of San Juan on the banks of the Yumuri arises in the neighborhood of La Marina, a festival of great impact due to the popular and religious involvement of the population, an honor to ancestrality. and the also unique Cabildo San Juan Bautista Iyessa Moddu of the city of Matanzas, who also has a long history on the dates of June 21 to 24 (where the neighborhood council is also toured with the patron saint and other activities were developed and operated today religious and cultural activities).

On the other hand, the burning on the banks of the San Juan river of a doll that was made in the Versailles neighborhood was incorporated for a long time, which changed places from time to time to the Chiquirín beach and the burning carried out by the Catalans who have defended tradition from their practices. The city remained active, but the Pueblo Nuevo was not turned off by the San Juan initiative again until in 2012 the AfroAtenAs Project in coordination with the House of Culture decided to safeguard it, and that is how it started again since then. to tour the neighborhood.

Several years have passed and the festival has gone from making 1 doll to almost 9 or 12, demonstrating community participation and the cultural involvement of a permanent work of the AfroAtenAs Project.

Today, students, families, institutions, even tourism agencies wait for the date to be part of a wonderful moment where almost 1000 people come to listen to the drum, the troupe and mix between colors, sociocultural projects, costumes, and competitions for the best doll, plastic workshops, paper mache, theater and much more.

The rescue of the Clover Festival is still pending for those dates and that this eventuality that occupies several neighborhoods of the city is taken as a Popular and Traditional Festival of great importance for the people of Matanzas, however, we continue to act in pursuit of memory , the tradition and customs of the second yumurina city, San Juan de Pueblo Nuevo.

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