Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Nearly 50 years of hopes crushed and lives postponed; a generation already buried and another on the way to extinction; our country in ruins and our people still trapped amid those ruins, our only friend is the clock and also our worst enemy, for its marches bring us closer to the day of our country's deliverance but also shorten our own days. Forty-nine years we have stood on the threshold of the New Year and prayed that that the evil that was born with this day might pass with it. Forty-nine years we have been disappointed. There is always a margin for hope and despair will do no more for us than can hope.

So let us raise our glasses again with the same familiar toast, now unspoken but still as deeply felt.

May this year change everything but our abiding love for country and our boundless faith in our countrymen.

Happy New Year 2008


Vana said...


Well said!

Happy New Year, to you and yours!

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I have always been very fond of this painting. To us, of course, it illustrates the custom, preserved in Spain and among Cuban exiles, of eating twelve grapes on New Year's eve. Our countrymen on the island, of course, cannot observe this custom because grapes are unavailable in Cuba at this time or anytime (even to obtain an orange requires a medical prescription). The other tradition associated with this day is throwing a bucket of water out the window at midnight. I suppose that is still possible if somewhat subversive, since it signifies "out with the old, in with the new."

That painting could have appeared on the cover of Carteles or the old Bohemia and its significance been understood immediately by all Cubans. Except, of course, that it does not reference our superannuated tradition; but, rather, is an allusion to the verse in the Song of Songs (1:14): "My lover is to me a cluster of grapes."

There are actually many paintings of the Madonna and Child holding grapes. I think, though, that this is the most evocative of our experience since the subjects are actually eating and enjoying the grapes as opposed to other depictions where they are simply holding them.

We don't know the identity of the artist who painted this particular picture, just that it is in the collection of a German regional museum.

Vana said...


Lovely painting! And yes that is still how we celebrate, grapes and a pail of water out the door.

I remember in Cuba the National Anthem would be played at midnight, we still do it!