By a Special Correspondent
Many Cuban families celebrated Christmas with midnight Mass and early morning feasting despite the chill attitude of the authorities towards the Christian festival, which as usual was officially ignored. Christmas Day was an ordinary working day in Catholic Cuba, and produced no echo in the government information media.
Fidel Castro, the Prime Minister. set the style for this official silence three years ago when he said: "These traditions, with their snowcovered Christmas trees and all the rest of it are very fine, very poetic. very Christian: but Cuba is not in Scandinavia."
But every year millions of Cuban families feast until dawn on Christmas Day before work begins. Churches are filled for midnight Mass—hut the only illuminations in the towns are for the slogans reminding Cubans or the big "liberation day" celebrations on January 2.
The year's end was less austere than previously, with a three-day holiday on
New director of British Museum
Sir John Pope-Hennessy takes up his appointment as Director of the British Museum this week when musem charges to which he is opposed will he introduced for the first time.
Formerly director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir John, aged 60, is the author of numerous hooks and papers on Italian Renaissance art, During the seven years he spent in his previous post he reorganised and expanded the services and collections of the museum.
Educated at Downside and Balliol College, Oxford, Sir John is a C.B.E. and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Society of Literature. But to his friends he is simply "the pope." January I, 2 and 3 to mark the 15th anniversaryof Dr. C astro's guerrillas' victory over the troops of the Batista regime. Committees for the defence of the revolution in every quarter of the towns are organising big festivities for their members — two Cubans out of every three.
Collective celebrations were staged in every block of flats on New Year's Eve, with feasting and dancing till dawn, and everyone paying a contribution of one peso (about 40p) towards the cost of beer and food.