The Cuban holiday known as National Revolution Day is celebrated annually on July 26th. It recognizes and celebrates the revolt led by Fidel Castro in 1953 which laid the groundwork for the present Cuban government. Castro and his group of rebels attacked military barracks in Santiago de Cuba then under the governmental rule of Fulgencio Batista. By and large, the assault on the military appeared unsuccessful, with Castro and his fellow freedom fighters being exiled to Mexico. However, the actions of these revolutionaries encouraged others in unifying to overthrow the U.S. backed dictator in 1959, led by Castro who returned in 1956.  The revolutionist picked the day of the annual summer carnival to launch their assault so their numbers could easily blend in with the masses moving about for the celebration.

It should be also mentioned that prior to any armed or violent uprising Castro and several others did explore and eventually run out of legal options to depose Batista. No stranger to revolutions himself, the uprising should have come as no surprise to Batista.  Afterall, his rise to power was due largely to his role in the 1933 Revolt of the Sergeants (a military coup, where he subsequently appointed himself Chief of the armed forces.

Since then, Cuba has celebrated National Revolution Day on July 26th as a public holiday.  Eventually, the government included both July 25th and 27th as part of the national celebration in which all schools and businesses are closed.  Cubans take to the streets to attend rallies, parades, and other events to recognize what has been dubbed by some as the happiest day in Cuban history.

Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash

As with any regime change, may Cubans did not agree that this was the happiest day in Cuban history and this spurred a mass exodus of people, a lot of whom feared losing their wealth or even their lives, to flee to the United States among other nations.

Today, Cuba is no longer off limits to U.S. travelers, due mainly to President Obama pursuing “a new beginning with Cuba” and successfully restoring a diplomatic relationship with our neighbor.  In 2016, the president himself visited Cuba. U.S visitors can now take advantage of what the largest Caribbean island has to offer which includes its vast stretches of stunning beaches, rich culture, amazing food, and beautiful people. Placing Cuba’s National Revolution Day on your travel bucket list will allow you to enjoy all of those perks, as well as give you insight on one of Cuba’s largest historical celebrations.

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