Growing up Cuban, some traditions make perfect sense, they are part of our lives and never question their origins or how strange they may seem for the others. Moving abroad, we start seeing things from a different perspective and sometimes smile while walking in others’ shoes and looking at traditions such as pinning money to a bride’s dress… How funny would it be to do that when being invited to a wedding in the US?

Help the newlyweds by pinning money to a bride’s dress

The most popular tradition that is performed at Cuban weddings is the money dance. This is when the bride dances with several people and they all pin money to her dress as a gift to help her start a new life with her husband.

Calling female friends and family members ‘gordita’

If you have an ear for Spanish, you might notice that Cubans have some unique terms of endearment. It’s not unusual to hear women called gordita, or fatty, around friends and family. It might seem strange to English-speakers, but it’s widely accepted in Cuba.

The culinary traditions

If you simplify the Cuban cuisine, you can narrow it down to rice, beans, beef, and sandwiches. That does not sound very appealing to a foreigner, right? But when people taste Cuban food, they immediately find out that deliciousness lies in its simplicity and never fall out of love with it.

Naming babies

In the US, when you say John in an office, you might get several “Yeah!” at a time… But this is less an occurrence in Cuba since Cubans name their babies in their own special way. Of course, there are traditional names, but some parents feel more creative and make up the names, sometimes by putting together pieces of their family members’ names, some other times by inventing totally new names.

Open door policy

Being open and hospitable is one of the Cuban traditions that has been ingrained in the national psyche and one of the things Cubans are famous for and Cuba has become such an attractive destination for millions of travelers. Openness and hospitability are also expressed by open doors. Properties are generally not fenced, or if the fence is present, it’s generally for keeping animals in. In smaller towns you will see that many people don’t even close their front doors, meaning their friends and neighbors can visit whenever they want.