Carnival of Santiago de Cuba - A Typical 19th Century Mamarrachos

A Typical 19th Century Mamarrachos

A 19th century of animal-drawn carriages (whose occupants were not masked), the building of bonfires, pilgrimage to sanctuaries while carrying torches, the consumption of beverages such as aguardiente, “Yara” rum, natural fruit juices, chocolate, soup, beer, coffee, etc., the wearing of costumes and masks, masked balls (where music was performed by the orquesta típica and the repertoire consisted of contradanzas, danzas, danzones, rigadoons and walzes), the erection of mesitas (tables covered with awnings where beverages and refreshments were sold), versification in the form of cantos de pullas (mocking songs, often truly insulting and mostly improvised by comparsas or small groups of festival-goers), the spontaneous parading of the comparsas, and montompolo, a grand parade on the last day of mamarrachos, with all the comparsas participating in a farewell performance (Pérez I 1988:132-5, etc.). By the end of the 19th century, the building of bonfires, visiting sanctuaries while carrying torches and horse-racing had died out (Pérez I 1988:132-5).

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