Cuban First vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel attended on Sunday the Jewish celebrations known as Hanukkah or Festival of the Lights at the Grand Synagogue of the Cuban Jewish Community in Havana.
According to Granma newspaper, minutes before the traditional ceremony kicked off, the top Cuban government official met with the President of the Jewish Community in Cuba, Adela Dworin. The meeting was also attended by members of several Jewish communities in Havana and by the head of the Communist Party's Office for the Attention to Religious Affairs, Caridad Diego.
Diaz-Canel lit up the first candle at the traditional ceremony, which is held in different periods each year, in tune with the Jewish calendar.
The festival, in which Jewish children and youths brought in traditional dances, songs and performing arts related to the historic celebration, included the screening of a documentary film that recalled the participation of Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro at similar celebrations in 1998 and the attendance of Raul Castro of another Hanukkah in 2010.
Shortly before the cultural gala concluded, Adela Dworin gave Diaz-Canel a traditional nine-candle calendar as a present for his attendance of the festival. The Cuban leader said he was pleased for having participated in the ceremony and he expressed his thankfulness for having had the opportunity to admire some traditions of the Jewish people.
“I really appreciate how you have been able to maintain and nourish history, culture and the knowledge of the Jewish people in our beloved Cuba,” said Diaz-Canel, who noted that “we can join efforts to cooperate and contribute to the construction of a better society. This has been an unforgettable night,” he concluded.