Afro-Cuban Event

America is known as a melting pot for the reason it is the home for an eclectic group of people from all over the world with different religions, cultures, races, ethnicities, and overall beliefs. I cannot stress enough how significant it is for not only Americans, but the entire population to experience and educate their selves on global understandings and gain cultural awareness. By doing so, I believe individuals grow mentally from their experiences, encouraging people to acquire a more wide and open sense of thinking and perspectives on the world. Not only will one become more global aware and have a better cross-cultural understanding, but also, they will be able to apply their newfound knowledge and experiences to skills in everyday life and continuously strengthen their international understandings.

In my mission to create something that has the goal of educating American audiences on the understanding of Afro-Cuban religious culture and life, I decided to throw an event. I kept in mind an event that focuses on educating a large population in a city that has prevalent Afro-Cuban influence and people, so it will better unite the community. An event that does this will be an educational, effective way of fulfilling my goal because of the easy integration of Afro-Cuban activities during an event. Also, planning an event suits my career path, where I hope to someday own my own event planning business and throw events that influence lives in a positive way, such as this one.

To start, the event will be held in Miami, Florida, where there is a heavy dominance of Afro-Cubans in comparison to the rest of the United States. The venue in Little Havana called Casa de Africa is more than perfect for the event I have in mind.The museum even has an Afro-Cuban focused section where sacred objects are exhibited and many art pieces from African countries too. Along with the education aspect of the event, a few of the other rooms will be occupied for pre-organized activities. Some of the activities I envision are an area where schools around Miami hope to encourage international partnership with Cuban schools and can provide proposals for pen pals for students and even teachers. This opportunity will give students from America the ability to engage and experience interaction with other people their age, while Afro-Cuban students on the other side will learn the same, but in relation to America. The bond and interactive lesson will also apply to teachers, with the added opportunity of learning about international teaching styles.

In the same room, devoted to the education of the official language of Cuba, Spanish will focus on activities led by a language teacher. A few activities occurring will be the learning and teaching of simple everyday words to the guests and the option to sign up for Spanish-speaking lessons for future use. In addition, to add a technological aspect to the event, vertical reality equipment will be accessible to show important areas around Cuba that are significant to the Santería religion. Also, monitors are available to be used for access to Google Maps, where people can go to specific areas around Cuba that have specific religious meaning.

For food and drink, there will be areas for well-organized and presented platters of traditional food, specifically in reference to the food related offerings for the Orishas. There would be a person stationed in the area to explain and educate the meanings behind the preparation and presentation of the food regarding which Orisha it is for. Conversation about the food and religious aspects of Santería will hopefully be invoked from eating and walking around the museum viewing the Afro-Cuban artwork. Decorations covering the museum’s rooms for the event will reflect the ceremonious Afro-Cuban décor traditions.

Another room meant for music and dance holds the well known batá drums, which are open to be used by attendees and a professional and well educated on the history of music in Afro-Cuban culture is positioned for questions and education purposes. In hopes of furthering the entertainment area of understanding Santería, dancing and a knowledgeable dance teacher resides in the same room to show common ritualistic performances and dances derived from Afro-Cuban culture.

Hopefully, in the end, turnout from local Miami persons and Afro-Cubans will spark not only the influence on Afro-Cuban education to Americans, but also, those people will continue the transference of knowledge onto others. Making Afro-Cubans feel more welcome, understood, and accepted is also part of the overall event’s goal, so most of the influence and ideas for the event should derive from highly educated Afro-Cubans that are interested in sharing their culture with Americans.

One thought on “Afro-Cuban Event

  1. Joshua Greaves

    The notion that cultural understanding is important (especially for melting pot countries) certainly cannot be overstated. Coming at this from another Shaking The Spirit section, I have done my own research and project building around the cultural influences of the Caribbean. In the case of my Vodou bottle, the focus was on Haitian Vodou rather than Afro-Cuban culture, but there are a good deal of connecting threads. Namely the creolization of culture as people and their ways were brought from Africa and Europe and met up with the native population in what would become Saint Domingue and eventually Haiti / The Dominican Republic. This heavily forced diffusion of culture is a melting pot in its own right, and the resulting practice of Vodou is seriously misunderstood and poorly portrayed by American and other western media. “Voodoo” practices are often portrayed as little more than senseless animal sacrifice and pin-needling of dolls. Look a little bit closer and actually try to understand, and one might find that Vodou is actually a rather complicated and varied practice that has spawned a rich culture with its own associated music, dance, traditional food, beliefs, and community pride.

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