I really don’t know the history behind the tradition of getting wet in the first May rainstorm, or if it’s exclusively Cuban, but it is something that I have anticipated eagerly since I was a child.
My grandmother lived in one of those Cuban country houses with a patio right in the middle. That open-air space was a source of affliction every time my sister and I would come for a visit and shatter the peace of her home. We were both obsessed with rainstorms, and although we were obedient girls, one had to be very firm (which was not her case) to try to control us when the water began pouring down the drainpipes of her tiled roof.
I can’t explain why my grandmother thought we were going to catch our death of pneumonia every time we would go out and stand under the rain. However, her distress did have one day of respite: when the first rainstorm of May arrived, my sister and I had permission to get as soaked as we wanted. Not only was it allowed, it was obligatory, because that water was blessed: it would bring us luck, health and happiness for the rest of the year.
For this and other reasons, May has always been my favorite month. For some years now, I feel that many other people share my preference; what else could explain the large number of events that take place in Cuba this month? The Romerías de Mayo festival in Holguín; the Mayo Teatral theater festival in Havana; the Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament; the Tourism Fair; the Cubadisco music festival; the Ernest Hemingway International Marlin Fishing Tournament; the Huella de España Spanish heritage festival and the Havana Biennial are some of the most important.
In this issue of OnCuba we discuss these events and present our readers with a special supplement about the 11th Havana Biennial, the most important visual arts showcase in Cuba, when the city turns into a celebration of the senses and the imagination, with renowned artists from all over the world.
By visiting our website www.oncubanews.com you can keep yourself posted throughout the month about all of these events on this island, blessed by the May rains. So stay tuned to Cuba and follow my advice: if you have the opportunity, get soaked in our first rainstorm.