¿Se celebra la Navidad en Cuba?

Por: padre Ariel Suárez

Navidad

Hace dos años, unos muchachos interesados en el periodismo y la sociología salieron con una cámara de video y micrófono en mano a preguntar, en el parque del Curita de La Habana, qué era la Navidad y cómo la celebraban los cubanos.
La mayoría de los encuestados dijo que la Navidad era la fiesta de fin de año, donde se comía puerco asado, congrí, yuca, manzanas, y se tomaba cerveza y vino. Una señora mayor dijo que era una fiesta que se celebraba en familia el 24 de diciembre, pero no supo aclarar cuál era el contenido de la festividad. Una adolescente dijo que era el momento en que se encendía el arbolito de Navidad y todos en su casa se hacían intercambios de regalos. Un joven dijo que, propiamente hablando, en Cuba no había Navidad y refirió lo que él veía en televisoras y películas de otros países sobre calles engalanadas, tiendas y comercios llenos de luces, flores de Pascua, turrones y sidras. Y acotó: “¡eso sí que es Navidad!”.
Los encuestadores preguntaron también a los interpelados si ellos sabían por qué en Cuba durante años, la Navidad había sido un día laborable como otro cualquiera y por qué, desde hacía varios años ya, con la visita del Papa san Juan Pablo II, el día de Navidad (25 de diciembre) había vuelto a ser festivo. No supieron contestar a la pregunta en cuestión, pero una señora se limitó a afirmar: “es que eso de la Navidad lo inventó un Papa”.
Las últimas preguntas se refirieron a los Reyes Magos y a Papá Noel. Las respuestas vincularon estos personajes con los regalos a los niños, pero con una gran ambigüedad e incluso contradicciones en lo que afirmaban unos y otros.
En el muestreo aleatorio que nos ofrecieron estos indagadores eché de menos la presencia de algún cristiano, católico o de otra denominación. Probablemente, la respuesta de un cristiano hubiera sido más precisa y nos hubiera dado una visión más global y completa del panorama religioso de nuestro pueblo. Sin embargo, los cristianos no somos la mayoría de la población cubana y las respuestas anteriormente aludidas representan un porcentaje para nada despreciable, de lo que los cubanos piensan e imaginan sobre la Navidad.

El contenido esencial de la Navidad
La Navidad es la fiesta cristiana que celebra el acon-tecimiento central de la historia: Dios se ha hecho hombre y se ha vinculado así a todo hombre, de todo tiempo y lugar, para siempre. Sabemos por la Biblia que Dios Padre ha enviado a su Hijo eterno al mundo y por obra del Espíritu Santo, ese Hijo eterno de Dios, Dios como su Padre y como el Espíritu Santo, ha asumido la condición humana en el seno de una mujer: la Santísima Virgen María.
El hijo de María Virgen es también el Hijo eterno de Dios. En un pueblo de Palestina llamado Belén, cercano a la ciudad de Jerusalén, María Virgen dio a luz a su hijo. La acompañaba José, su esposo, quien se ocuparía de aquel Niño como un verdadero papá. Y por los relatos bíblicos, conocemos también que unos pastores que cuidaban sus rebaños próximos al lugar del alumbramiento, fueron los primeros destinatarios de esa Buena Noticia, y corrieron a visitar al Niño en aquella primera Navidad. La Biblia nos habla igualmente de unos magos venidos del Oriente que, siguiendo una estrella, llegaron hasta el Niño, y le ofrecieron regalos: oro, incienso y mirra. En los pastores, que eran cercanos, y los sabios del Oriente, que venían de lejos, la Escritura Santa quiere decirnos que ese Niño que contemplamos en el pesebre de Belén junto a su madre, había venido a salvar a todos los hombres y mujeres, de todos los pueblos, de todas las culturas, de todas las razas. En efecto, ese Niño Dios se llamó entre nosotros Jesús, nombre que significa “Dios que salva” o “Salvador”.
El Nacimiento de Jesús, el Salvador, es el verdadero contenido de la Navidad. Y esta fiesta produce en nosotros sentimientos de gratitud, de adoración, de alabanza, de paz. En efecto, si Dios se ha hecho hombre, entonces ser hombre o mujer es lo más importante del mundo, tanto, ¡que hasta Dios ha querido serlo!
Navidad sorprende y conmueve, porque antes de este acontecimiento los hombres y mujeres debían afrontar la búsqueda, a veces fatigosa, de Dios. En cambio, Navidad nos viene a decir que es Dios quien busca a los hombres. Y nos busca en la figura frágil y tierna de un niño, enseñándonos así que el hombre no debe asustarse de Dios, de su grandeza o majestad. Porque la verdadera grandeza de Dios es la inmensidad de Su Amor por nosotros. En efecto, Dios asume nuestra humanidad y nos dona su divinidad. Dios toma la vida humana y nos dona su vida divina, eterna. Acoger esta presencia de Cristo en el corazón es la verdadera celebración de la Navidad.
El tiempo de Navidad comienza en la noche del 24 de diciembre que llamamos Nochebuena y donde tradicionalmente se celebra la “Misa del Gallo” o Misa de Medianoche. El 25 de diciembre es el día de Navidad. Las festividades navideñas se prolongan hasta el 6 de enero, día de los Magos del Oriente o de la Manifestación de Dios a todas las naciones, para concluir el domingo siguiente al 6 de enero con la fiesta del Bautismo del Señor.

Los signos externos de la Navidad
Hemos ya aclarado que la verdadera Navidad se produce en los corazones, en la transformación de la vida. Pero no es menos cierto que el ser humano, lo que vive en su interior, lo traduce y comunica a través de signos externos, palpables. Es difícil decirle a alguien que lo queremos, por ejemplo, o apreciamos su amistad, sin hacerle una llamadita por teléfono, o buscar el tiempo para una comida o un paseo juntos. Lo mismo nos pasa con la Navidad.
Entre los signos externos de la Navidad sobresalen dos fundamentalmente: el Nacimiento y el árbol de Navidad.
El primero que “inventó” el Nacimiento, por así decirlo, fue san Francisco de Asís, un santo del siglo xiii que se destacó por su profundo amor a Cristo, por su pobreza, humildad, amor a la creación y a la alegría de vivir como hermanos. En la Navidad de 1223, Francisco, que estaba tan impactado de la pobreza y sencillez de Jesús en Belén, quiso reproducir la Misa de Nochebuena en una gruta que le recordara la cueva donde el Señor había nacido. Buscó ovejas, un buey, una mula, otros animalitos y preparó un pesebre. Allí, en medio de aquel espectáculo sobrecogedor, rodeado de pastores y de gente sencilla de su pueblo, celebraron la Misa con enorme gozo y emoción. Con el tiempo, aquello se hizo famoso y empezaron los cristianos a elaborar figuras de yeso, de madera o de otro material, que representaran a los personajes que la Biblia pone en la escena del Nacimiento de Jesús. Y todas esas figuras se colocan en las casas, templos, incluso plazas o lugares públicos como la plaza de la Catedral acá en La Habana, durante los días del tiempo de Navidad.
El árbol de Navidad es una tradición que nos llega de la cultura alemana. Cristo es representado como un árbol, fuente de vida. El color verde de sus ramas ha simbolizado tradicionalmente la esperanza. Y como quien está unido a Cristo, produce frutos de bondad, de amor, de justicia y de paz… hemos añadido luces y bolas de colores al árbol, para indicar que nuestra vida se hace fecunda y bella cuando estamos unidos a Cristo.
Es hermoso ver que, en muchas casas cubanas, las personas colocan en estas fechas su árbol de Navidad y sus Nacimientos. En la mayoría de las parroquias católicas de Cuba se ofrecen Nacimientos a precios modestos para poder colocar en nuestros hogares. Y también postales, donde nos felicitamos y nos deseamos bendiciones de Jesús para estos días santos y para el Nuevo Año, que llega hasta nosotros en medio del tiempo navideño.
También es bello que, en torno al 6 de enero, Día de los Reyes Magos, hagamos algún regalo a los niños, aunque sea modesto. Hacemos memoria de aquellos sabios del Oriente que trajeron regalos al Niño Dios y sobre todo, enseñamos a nuestros niños que en estos días, recordamos que Dios ha dado el mejor regalo a los hombres, al enviarnos a Su Hijo eterno como Salvador.

El arbolito navideño a la cubana

En Cuba hoy
Retomando un poco la historia y las inquietudes suscitadas en el parque del Curita, tenemos que confesar que los cristianos cubanos, durante todas las épocas, hemos celebrado la Navidad en nuestras casas y en nuestros templos. Habitualmente las familias cristianas han hecho una cena “especial” el 24 de diciembre y luego, han participado en la Misa del Gallo. En torno al 25 de diciembre, además de las misas especiales o cultos que hay en las distintas iglesias, siempre hemos podido realizar obras de teatro alegóricas a la Navidad o conciertos con los cantos natalicios también llamados “villancicos”. Desde hace varios años, el concierto de Navidad que se realiza en la Catedral de La Habana y el mensaje de felicitación del arzobispo habanero, se transmite por la televisión nacional. Igualmente se transmite el concierto que, con la misma finalidad, organiza el Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba.
En la década de 1960 se suprimieron los días festivos de la Navidad en Cuba, aludiéndose motivos económicos, siempre vinculados, en lo fundamental, a la campaña azucarera. En diciembre de 1997 se declaró excepcionalmente feriado el 25 de diciembre como homenaje a la visita de Juan Pablo II para enero de 1998. Después de dicha visita, el Parlamento cubano acordó que el día de Navidad fuera siempre festivo y no laborable. Todo esto ha contribuido a crear un ambiente más favorable a la celebración navideña. Sin embargo, como revelaba la encuesta mencionada, un decreto parlamentario no suprime de golpe la ignorancia, la confusión y sobre todo, la ausencia de experiencias humanas que se viven desde pequeños en familia y que justo por eso, quedan como valores y adquisiciones para toda la existencia.
En Cuba extrañamos la ausencia de signos navideños en espacios públicos. Los muy tímidos que han aparecido en los últimos tiempos se reducen a hoteles o comercios. En el mundo de la iniciativa privada y en el ámbito de diversas familias también los vemos. Si bien esos signos no son ni mucho menos lo más importante, pueden ayudar a visibilizar un momento festivo y alegre, pueden enviar un mensaje de esperanza, de luz y de belleza que nuestro pueblo necesita y anhela. Con todo, no lo olvidemos, la verdadera Luz de Navidad es Jesucristo, que llegó pobre y olvidado, modestamente acogido por los hombres de su tiempo y de todos los tiempos. Él vuelve a recordarnos, en esta Navidad, cuánto nos quiere, cuánto nos busca, cuánto le interesamos. Y si le abrimos nuestro corazón y nuestra vida a la fuerza transformadora de su amor, nos convertiremos en mejores seres humanos, más solidarios, más fraternos, más preocupados los unos por los otros, más servidores, más humildes y esperanzados, en una palabra, más llenos de Cristo Jesús. Y como decía aquel joven del parque: “¡ESTO SÍ QUE ES NAVIDAD!”. Ω

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