Venezuela is a country that has an important cultural influence that has made its traditional festivals a spectacle worth seeing. African and European culture and indigenous traditions are mixed in their many celebrations, resulting in popular festivals known worldwide for their beauty. You can find many celebrations in this country. Still, we focus on the most outstanding ones, learn about the traditional festivals of Venezuela, and discover more about this wonderful nation’s culture.
Venezuela traditions: Holy Week
Venezuela is a predominantly Catholic country, so Holy Week is one of the traditional festivals in this country, with characteristic celebrations every day.
The traditional festivals begin on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter Sunday. The faithful come to churches with palms to be blessed. With these palms, crosses will be made that will serve to protect homes throughout the year.
The processions and Via Crucis are characteristic throughout the week, reminding the faithful of the life and work of Jesus and his last days. Easter Sunday is a holiday in which all Catholics celebrate with processions and attending Mass, the salvation of Jesus. It is precisely on this day that you can enjoy the burning of Judas, where believers make Judas dolls that they expose and burn publicly to celebrate that good has triumphed over evil.
Traditional festivals of Venezuela: Dancing Devils of Yare
The Dancing Devils of Yare are, without a doubt, the most famous traditional festival in Venezuela abroad and one of the most important nationally.
Nine weeks after Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi is celebrated, and it is also on this date that the Dancing Devils of the town of Yare, in the state of Miranda, delight all attendees to honor the Blessed Sacrament.
Those who have made promises are in charge of dressing up as devils, respecting certain hierarchies, and dancing to the rhythm of the music. Wearing red costumes and colorful masks, the Dancing Devils of Yare fulfill their purpose of honoring their church while the faithful enjoy the dances, attend Mass and participate in the different religious events to celebrate Corpus Christi. Locals and tourists alike are delighted to participate in this colorful celebration.
Traditional festivals of Venezuela: Cruz de Mayo
The May Cross festival, although in some countries it is celebrated every May 3 to welcome the rainy season that allows the growth of crops, in Venezuela. It can be enjoyed throughout May, being one of the most popular traditional festivals, especially in the east of the country.
The May Cross festival consisted of decorating the crosses with the first flowers of spring, a way of honoring the Christian faith and thanking nature for the flowering. However, over time it was related to crops and rains.
The wake of the May Cross, which takes place in eastern Venezuela, is a great celebration. Not only are the crosses decorated, but there are also dances until dawn and many Catholic and social events to celebrate this party.
Traditional festivals of Venezuela: San Antonio de Padua
Being a Catholic country, in Venezuela, there are countless festivals linked to the church. However, on June 13 the day of San Antonio de Padua is celebrated but what makes this festival truly traditional and outstanding is the dance performed in it: the Tamunangue.
In Lara’s state, the faithful who are keeping promises thanks, San Antonio, for his generosity while dancing to the rhythm of the drums, evidencing the perfect mix between European and African customs in a single ritual.
Traditional festivals of Venezuela: Fiestas de San Juan
The festival of San Juan is popular in many countries. In Venezuela, it is celebrated especially in the coastal areas, where the rhythm of the drums marks this important festival destined especially for the devotees of this saint. On the eve of San Juan, attendees gather on the beaches to dance drums and improvise songs, a ritual that is repeated the next day as devotee’s wave colored handkerchiefs to honor their saint.
Traditional festivals of Venezuela: La Chinita Fair
The Chinita Fair is one of the most popular festivals in Venezuela. It is celebrated between November 15 and 22 to honor the Virgen de la Chiquinquirá, patron saint of Zulia.
The Venezuelan bagpipes are the musical background of this celebration, officially opening the Christmas season, in which this type of music is usually heard. With religious rituals, a musical fair, sports competitions, bullfights, and all kinds of events, the faithful of the Virgen de la Chiquinquirá honor their chinita, as they affectionately call their patron.
In Venezuela, you can also enjoy other traditional festivals such as the paradura del niño in the Andes on January 1, the Divina Pastora festivities in Lara state on January 14. The Callao Carnival in Bolívar state, the Feria del Sun in Mérida, and the different festivals, honor each town’s virgins and Saints. Each one with particular traditions that are often a mixture of Catholicism inherited by the Spanish and the different African and indigenous rituals, thus revealing the country’s traditions. Whose culture is the product of many influences?