Every October 20 the island celebrates the Day of Cuban Culture, since in that date, but in 1868, the town sang for the very first time the first patriotic march: La Bayamesa or Bayamo´s Anthem – so called then – turned in time as Cuban National Anthem.
Pedro Figueredo (Perucho), a patriot, musician, poet and lawyer is its autor: he conceived the melody in 1867 and the lyrics in 1868; it was later on played by Manuel Muñoz Cedeño. It was called La Bayamesa since it was created and interpreted in Bayamo for the first time and as reference to the Marselleise of the French Revolution. It is a combat march, spurting from the struggle against the metropolis, expressing the independent spirit of its inflamed music and patriotic lyrics.
Ten days after initiation of the Great War or Ten Year´s War after the Grito de Yara, insurrectional mambí forces commanded by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes liberated Bayamo, which capitulation was signed in the night of October 20, 1868 marking the first victory of the mambi army for Cuban history.
In the midst of the taking of the city, Perucho Figueredo wrote the lyrics sitting in his war horse; the written page passed from hand to hand and the aroused town sang La Bayamesa for the first time in the today called Plaza del Himno (anthem plaza).
Circumscribed by the Cathedral of San Salvador de Bayamo, in the Historical Center of the city – capital of Granma Province – the Plaza del Himno has been scenario of religious and social events and many other transcendent historical gatherings.
Thus on October 20, 1868 in the Plaza del Himno de Bayamo, the birth of the National Anthem took place; since then, its fervent notes presided all actions of the Cuban independence movement and the town assumed it as a call to the struggle for the liberty of the country.
To consider October 20 as Day of Cuban Culture is to acknowledge the essence of the roots of this nationality. The date, established on August 22, 1980, definitely marks the birth of a rebellious nation and its identity, thus it is celebrated with intensity and the best of this culture.
By: Alina Dupré