The cannon ceremony takes place every evening at Castillo de San Carlos de la Cabana and is performed by young military men; the men who performed the evening we attended were Venezuelan soldiers. The canonazo ceremony is a tradition started in the 17th century. A cannon would be fired to alert the community that the gates would be closed to the city.
Cubans come out in force to experience this ceremony; as visitors, my wife and I really enjoyed the ceremony. A group of men in period costumes march to the cannon in the fort; a flame handler is at the cannon preparing to handle lighting and shooting. Starting at approximately 8:40 pm, the march to the cannon begins. Then the fire handler begins a recitation. This leads up to the canon being fired once at 9:00pm to end the ceremony.
Even though this ceremony happens each evening, there is a real event feel when you arrive. There are lots of things for sale without a real hard sell. Arrive early and enjoy the Castillo before the crowds grow. You will also be able to get a great spot on the grounds to the rear of the cannon.
This is quite an experience and should be seen at least once during any stay in Havana.
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