Culture of such diverse peoples, who have come together in one place, culture, mix in all the colors of customs and manners characteristic to people survived the horror of the time: genocide, slaughter and slavery. Afro-Caribbean culture has developed under the influence of Great Britain, Holland, Spain and many other countries. At the same time, it is unique in its gorgeous color display throughout the islands.
In those days, when the islands were ruled by Spain, Caribbean region fierce fighting raged; France, Spain, England, the Netherlands and Denmark, each country was trying to grab a piece of the Caribbean lands. Almost all residents of the Caribbean islands have been destroyed, others had been taken into slavery, others, such as a warlike tribe of the Caribbean, continued to fight to the last. The onset of slavery, has announced a time when the culture of African slaves being added to the common pot of morals and principles of the people settled in the island nations.
The battles ended, many of the islands have been justified, and after the abolition of slavery culture Caribbean changed. Between the islands was the development of differences in small but significant ways. Somewhere was kept plantations and monuments of many battles, the colonial Europeans have done a great job for conservation and maintenance, architecture and historic sites for future generations.
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The music and cuisine of the region is reflected by many of the history. Afro Caribbean cuisine has its roots in European and African fundamentals. A musical history of the Caribbean islands was no less rich in tradition, were born many of the styles that have become popular far beyond the region, an example could be the calypso and reggae.
Caribbean is the eternal feast of the soul and body. Here, the sun always shines, playing rays on bright green picturesque islands. Here is the world’s best rum and good-relaxed atmosphere reigns. Caribbean is that part of the world where the weary work and everyday problems people go to regain strength and vitality.
Another side of Afro Caribbean culture is carnivals, loved not only by local inhabitants but also by tourists. The history of the carnivals has ancient origins, according to one theory it is believed that they allegedly came to the island, along with the slaves brought from Africa, with the permission of the owner, arranged celebrations with dances and processions in honor of the harvest, and in honor of the pagan gods. According to another version carnivals came to the island with the Spanish conquerors.
Thus, Cuban carnival celebrations are held in honor of St. San Juan, San Cristobal and San Pedro, which have a pronounced pagan flavor. First popular carnival in Cuba took place in 1833 in Havana. Then the carnival was a masquerade balls held in the theaters and shops. Rich and noble citizens marched through the streets in carriages, decorated with ribbons and flowers. For the crew, in which there were ladies, gentlemen followed on horseback. All participants in a festive procession were dressed in colorful costumes and unusual mask. Petals of flowers, streamers and confetti were everywhere, in the air and on the city streets, and the sound of music made all break into a dance, including the common people. Thus, carnivals were popular.
During the economic dominance of the United States in the island of Cuba, the carnivals were supported by United States. Only crews, trucks, giant puppets and everything else that took part in the march were like billboards served as U.S. companies. It all started a long time ago, when the only Afro American slaves brought their music and some ritual dances. In conjunction with the Spanish rhythm, it becomes incredibly popular across America, starting with the 20-ies of the last century. Also rumba and jazz music became popular.
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As for culture, it is difficult to talk about without mentioning religion. And it’s true, because religion has a huge impact on people’s minds as well as on the development of what they do. Tradition known in the world under the name of Santeria, is prevalent in many countries – Venezuela, Panama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Canada, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, Virgin Islands and, of course, Cuba. Santeria is not an outdated religion. It is a bright force with five hundred years of continuous history in the Western part of the World. African roots are at least as deep as the Christian. Santeria has millions of fans in the United States, the Caribbean, Central, and South America. Fans come from all walks of life: teachers, lawyers, famous people, even thieves. All people who want to have courage to control their own lives and are desperate to keep them in line with the most powerful parts of their beings will be interested in this religion. According to Willas D. (n. d.), “This is encompassed in the wide-ranging ritual sphere where there are various rites and sacrifices made to God for health, happiness, wealth, birth, life and even death.”
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Also particular interest is Afro Caribbean families. They retain the traditional structure of families with many children and many extended family members who share household duties. Families are big and have more clear hierarchy. It is expected that children will respect and adhere to a sense of obligation to their parents. In some traditional families exists strict rules for communication. For example, seniors may apply to the youngest only through an intermediary.
One aspect of authoritarian parents is a “contract” marriage. Often parents arrange the marriage; future bride and groom see each other only on the wedding day. The structure of the Afro-Caribbean families is different from the white majority because of the nature of immigration. Children usually remain for some time in the West Indies with their grandparents, and then after the economic stabilization after several years attached to the parents. By this time, parents may be divorced, and the children will have to live with a stepfather or stepmother and stepchildren.
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Another feature of the African-Caribbean families may be a grown man, who does not live at home permanently. This is mundane thing but as for the child it could be in some ways traumatic. When a girl reaches the age of ten she has to be married. At the age of twenty they become old women. This is a reality of the Afro Caribbean culture. Life expectancy is low, on average, it is 30 years.
Afro Caribbean people are very open and hospitable. For example on the street one can meet a busker who may ask to listen to his music; finished he shook a hand and left. In every yard tanned children playing handball, football, hide and seek, and ride rusty creaking swings. The street is a place for communication, even nonverbal. It is a possibility of self-fulfillment and, of course, a way to earn money. By the way, those who from the head to the toe dressed in white, are followers of Santeria which is Afro-Caribbean religious tradition, the famous dance rituals, which are influenced by the culture of the islanders. For example Cubans believe that Santeria have the gift to predict the fate and the men in white use practically their special gift which is in telling fortune everyone, of course, if they gild the hand.
Afro Caribbean culture is original, it is unpredictable and entailing. Traditions, religion, communication, living and relations are unique, it attract people from all over the world. Influence, interacted with a touch of Africa, found expression in the emergence of a unique type of people. They are different from Europeans or Americans, but such type of people is friendly and open to everything new.
According to the resources that were used in this paper it can be concluded of their value. The great work of Patrick Taylor called “Nation dance religion, identity, and cultural difference in the Caribbean” shows well spread culture of Caribbean, influenced by the people of Africa. This is beautiful source of traditional and religious preferences of Afro Caribbean people. Also work, written by Mintz Sidney Wilfred and Richard Price demonstrate the beginnings of formation the Afro Caribbean culture and its perspective and development in future. Material taken from Web resources shows nowadays picture of this culture. It is a kind of window which opens a new point of view on the Afro Caribbean people, their families, cuisine, streets crowded by extraordinary people dressed in ceremonial clothes. As for religion a huge help rendered authors of the “Creole religions of the Caribbean: an introduction from Vodou and Santeri%u0301a to Obeah and Espiritismo”. This book shows interplay of the history and culture and subtleties of religion that mixed up with magic and rituals.