International worker’s day is celebrated in Cuba. In my own country it is not a thing, so I didn’t know what to expect. There was meant to be a parade, but the information we were given was vague, everyone basically gave slightly different details. All we knew was that something was happening on the Plaza de revolución early in the morning. So reluctantly I got out of my bed. When we were walking towards the plaza we saw more and more people going the other way. Did we miss it already? It was 8AM! Were they coming or going? We decided to keep walking and by the time we arrived at revolution square we had passed hundreds of excited people, dressed in blue, white and red.
Primero de mayo was a celebration for the revolution. Not only Cubans were attracted to the event, but also Turkish, Argentinians and other nationalities. I joined a group of tourists with cameras and looked out over the square. It was still filled with people, although it was emptying out. Apparently the speeches were all done. There was still loads to see though. People were singing socialist songs and cheered for the system. Cubans flags and images of Fidel, Raul and Che were everywhere. People were also holding sugarcane and a massive fake airplane came ‘flying’ by. As impressive as it was, it was strange to stand here, among supporters of a system that is so foreign to me and seems utterly wrong. But I guess everyone is proud of their fatherland and we don’t really know what it’s like to live a different way.
We were still wondering where all these people were going. They were all going different ways and so we picked a direction. Nothing happened. We just saw people walking back to their homes and getting onto buses that would take them back to all the small towns they came from. The rest of the day we didn’t see anything that had to do with the first of May. Shops were opening and normal life continued. It wasn’t at all what I had expected. I thought there would be a big day long celebration with music and parties, but before the day had really started it was all over. I’m still not sure how I feel about all the celebrations or what to think. I just let is all wash over me. Here’s an impression of the morning.