Cuban Culture

Cuban culture is known to be very expressive and vivid, because it inherited the mixture of Spanish and African cultures. Therefore Cuban culture is sometimes referred to as “melting point” of cultures. Firstly it is necessary to underline that interactions between parents and children are really special, because the family is the most important in their lives and very often several generations are living together in the same house. It is partly to economic situation and traditions. Therefore interactions in the family are friendly and open.
Children display respect to elder generations as well as for teachers in schools. Nevertheless, it is common for them to refer to teachers by their first names. They use “Senor” only when addressing a foreigner with a higher social rank. (Cultural Information 2006) Concerning communications styles it is known that Cubans prefer to stand very close in informal situations, especially in line-up or crowd. However, in formal situations they tend to keep a distance of approximately two feet. Cubans are fond of eye contact considering it a sign of sincerity.
It is apparent that Cubans communicate making lots of gestures and they are able to maintain the communication process even without speaking. The most popular nonverbal gestures used are wrinkling nose asking in such a way “What did you just say? ” and pointing a index finger meaning “I am referring to a person of color”. Actually it is very important to learn all the gestures and their meanings. (Cultural Information 2006) Cubans always use gestures as well as facial expression to emphasize and to illustrate something. Especially they speak in a very loud voice. Their emotions are displayed in an open manner and in public.

Display of affection is accepted whereas display of anger and negative emotions in public is considered negative behavior and is strongly criticized. Exaggerated manners are a part of Cuban culture; however it is not accepted as good social pattern of behavior. Cubans tend to be very expressive. Concerning nonverbal communication it is necessary also to mention shaking hands with both women and men and giving a kiss. (Cultural Information 2006) Cubans’ communication style is very loud and direct compared with used in USA, England, Canada and other countries, but such style is not offensive.
In such a way Cuban express their personality. Often Cuban may refer to even to unknown people with affectionate phrases such as “sweetheart” (mi amor). Light-hearted humor is appreciated, whereas sarcasm is not. Cubans are known for their sense of humor and very often their jokes refer to social and political situations in the country. Nevertheless, they won’t discuss government with unknown people, because their socialism system doesn’t allow freedom of expressions and they are afraid of becoming enemies of the government. (Cultural Information 2006)
Cubans prefer to dress more informally compared with other states in Latin America because of scarcity of imported clothing. For example, men rarely wear formal suits. Nevertheless, if the occasion is formal they will wear guayabera (an elegant embroidered shirt for tropical hot weather). Women usually wear skimpy and close-fitting clothing which is not seen in USA. Cuban dress is informal, although it is always neat, ironed and tucked in as most Cubans are neat persons. It is necessary to underline that “women are respected as professionals, but other than that roles are fairly traditional”.
Usually women are doing housework taking care of their children whereas men are relaxing watching TV after the ending of the working day. Concerning sexuality, the atmosphere is liberal and no taboos are applied. It is known that sexual harassments common and not considered serious problem compared with USA and European countries. (Cultural Information 2006) Earlier class differences were apparent and wealthy were employing the servants. After the revolution the situation changed; property and wealth were redistributed. Nevertheless, nowadays due to economic reforms the slight difference is creeping back into society.
The majority of population is considered mulatto i. e. mixed race inherited Spanish and African traits. Race discrimination is prohibited by the law, although “lingers somewhat in unconscious attitudes and prejudices”. Workplaces are heterogeneous and Cubans are aware of the underlying attitudes. (Cultural Information 2006) The main Cuban religion is Afro-Cuban or Santeria. Cubans worship African gods being identified with a Catholic saint. It is interesting that all religious rituals are expensive and elaborate; they involve even making offerings to the god.
However, growth in evangelical and protestant religions is slight. Cubans government doesn’t recognize religious holidays except Christmas. The most important holiday is Mother’s Day and it is accepted to present cards, flowers and small gifts to all the mothers. It is strong evidence that family is the most important for all Cubans. (Cultural Information 2006) It is noted that Cubans don’t have any serious food prohibitions, typically they prefer fried sliced banana, beans and rice, boiled Yucca plant, garlic marinades and different rice dishes.
Usually meat is v with a marinade creola style. Cubans are fond of sweet desserts such as yucca crullers in anise-flavoured syrup and guava marmalade with yellow cheese slices. After eating they dance till daybreak and drink rum. In conclusion it is necessary to outline that it is important to establish personal warm and friendly relations with Cubans, because their country is considered politically a very controversial place. Cubans have to know what motivates a person, who he/she is. It is possible to explain personal interest in communicating and display friendliness.
Only the Cubans will trust a person and enter into relations. Actually, it is favorable to talk about family as puts people at ease and provides common ground. It is apparent that Cubans are friendly and expressive people; they won’t hurt anybody without serious reason. They treat people the same way they are treated. Cuban culture in general is a very interesting example for discussion as it combines many cultural heritages. (Cultural Information 2006) References “Cultural Information: Cuba”. (2006, June 14). Retrieved October, 3, from http://www. intercultures. ca

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