International Storytelling Festival in Cuba Reveres Local Folklore

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Storytellers from 12 countries opened today in Cuba the International Storytelling Festival, with a ceremony in which the participants crossed Havana bay to honor its spiritual patron saint, the Virgin of Regla.

 

Storytellers from Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Panama, Peru, Spain, Poland, Chile, Kenya, Martinique and Cuba crossed the bay on a small motor catamaran, from which they threw coins to the water to ask for permission and wishes to Yemaya, the goddess of the seas in religious syncretism of African origin.

The local folklore is one of the great attractions in the ninth edition of the festival, which will take place in Havana until March 26.

The first story told was a cult to Yemaya, known as owner of the seas, protector of sailors and fishermen, and goddess of universal maternity.

The participants in the festival arrived at the national sanctuary of the Virgin of Regla, with the purpose of knowing it and verify, how thousands of pilgrims get to the small temple every day, its parish priest said.

Stories about palm trees, descriptions of tropical nature and recollection of traditions marked the welcoming ceremony, as well as a poem by national poet Nicolas Guillen and Cuban typical songs.

The chosen date to open the festival coincides with the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere of the planet and the celebration, on March 20, of the World Storytelling Day.

The venues of the event include the hall Lecuona at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, the theater-hall Bertolt Brecht, Casa Gaia and the Museum-Theater El Arca, although other public spaces in this cpaital have been included, trying to disseminate more the art of storytelling.

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