There are generally tow categories: paseos and congas.

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One of the most critical elements of the Santiago Carnival are the comparsas.

These are street performances or parades which are comprised of a muscial group and associated troop of costumed dancers.

However, as with other similar traditional festivals in Cuba such as the Charangas de Bejucal, the authorities have always decided to let such celebrations take place, since they act as a releasing of tensions for the slaves (during the time of slavery) and the lower classes.

In effect they provide the people a form of entertainment, distraction, and a sense of freedom, even if just for a few days, and this has tended to dampen the desires for uprising and revolt against the authorities.

Whether they are called carnavales, charangas or parrandas, large public celebrations dating at least (in Santiago de Cuba) as far back as the 17th century are common throughout Cuba.

However, among Cubans, the Carnaval of Santiago de Cuba enjoys a special status (Pérez I 19).

The history of Carnival in Cuba has been nuanced by a wide variety of interests and influences.

Based on a Herskovitsian retention model, a retardataire analysis might stress a continuous historical connection with Africa.

Carnival (Spanish “carnaval”), a pre-Lenten festival commonly held in Roman Catholic countries, became popular in Spain from the middle of the 16th century, was presumably brought to Cuba by Hispanic colonists (Pérez I 19) and has been the basis for traditional celebrations in Cuba ever since (for example, Carnaval habanero). James the Apostle were merely generic names which stood for days of public jubilation and diversion, totally lacking in the theological or liturgical meaning which it was convenient to feign, above all, during the days of the colonial government.” (Pérez I 19) The main activities were music, dancing and consumption of large quantities of alcoholic beverages.