Cultural Riches in Latin America

Cuban Traditions

Cuba is recognized worldwide for the joy and liveliness of its citizens and their hips on fire. It doesn’t come as a surprise that their traditional dances are part of the cultural riches of humanity. 8 years ago, a dance called French Tomb was added to the list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This particular type of dance form reached the island of Cuba when the slaves from Haiti brought their culture and traditions from West Africa with them, towards the end of the 18th century. The dance form is performed accompanied by drums.


444The people of Latin America have an ancestral wealth based on the traditions of the original inhabitants of the regions; in other words, the native or indigenous people. Despite all the cultural influence exerted by the European invaders, these rich traditions and cultural values and expressions were passed on from generation to generation and have managed to survive. There is a typical, common accessory used all over the world which has also been added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; namely the Panama hat, made in Ecuador and Panama from palm fiber or straw, which grow on the shores.

After harvesting, the palm is boiled to separate the fiber. When it is boiled, it loses its chlorophyll and acquires that yellowish, white color. The Panama hat is completely handmade and depending on the complexity of the design, its production can take anywhere between a day to 8 whole months. For the local communities that participate in this kind of work, the manufacturing of Panama hats does not only constitute an economic asset to them, but also a traditional way of life in which the whole family participates, which helps them strengthen the sense of community as well as family ties.