12 Popular Festivals In Venezuela - Updated 2021

festivals in venezuela
Julie
Julie
Updated

As a country located on the northern coast of South America, Venezuela has various natural attractions. Besides its Caribbean coast, you can find tropical resort islands such as Isla de Margarita and Los Roques archipelago. Moreover, the country is a top holiday hotspot, as it has a spectacular vibrancy and the world’s highest waterfall—Angel Fall. A thing to note, Venezuela is a mostly Roman Catholic country, with more or less 96 percent of the population following the faith. Genuinely rooted in a mixture of Spanish, Caribbean, and local traditions, Venezuelan festivals are unique celebrations of post-colonial identity, cultural awareness, and artistic expression. Check out this list of popular festivals in Venezuela to ensure a memorable experience.

1. El Callao Carnival

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

One of the events that bring the people of Venezuela together is El Callao Carnival. El Callao is a small town in the country and is the host of this four-day festival which celebrates the rich history of the town. El Callao is a mining town full of immigrants who moved to town centuries ago, making it a hotspot for different cultures. So much goes on during the festival. Leading the parade are the dancing madamas dressed in colorful African headdresses. There are also the medio-pintos, which are those who are body-painted in black and poke good fun at spectators.

El Callao Carnival

Takes place: February

2. Festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

<i>Miracles of St. Francis Xavier</i>
Source: Photo by user Peter Paul Rubens used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

During Festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, people will take the day to pay tribute to the two apostles—who are important figures in Christianity. This festival celebrates the sacrifice of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul with a lively event where music, dancing, and folklore are mixed. Bonfires are lit on the roads throughout the province on the night before the celebration. Local people dress in traditional clothes and dance on every corner. A variety of delicious street food is also available, such as empanadas, yuca, and tajadas.

Festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Takes place: June - July

3. Corpus Christi Devil Dancing, San Francisco de Yare

Mascaras diablos danzantes
Source: Photo by user Oscar . used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Diablos Danzantes Devil Dance Festival maintains an ancient local tradition previously begun in the 18th century. This Venezuela celebration is held once a year on Corpus Christi in the city of San Francisco de Yare. The participants, who wear red capes decorated with crosses and a mask of the devil, dance in a group accompanied by loud drumbeats. The colorful dancers’ parade will fill the streets while they move toward the church. The creepy crowds then perform in the town’s central square. Decorated with rosary beads, crosses, and maracas, they parade around the streets accompanied by the rhythm of scary musical poems.

Corpus Christi Devil Dancing, San Francisco de Yare

Takes place: May - June

4. San Benito Festival

Procesion de San Benito, Timotes Edo. Merida Venezuela
Source: Photo by user Ajrh19 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A two-day festival to honor San Benito de Palermo is held once a year in Venezuela at the end of December. Parties last over a week from Chrismas Eve to New Year’s Day. San Benito is the black saint of Venezuela. See grand costumes and spirited dancing during the festival. The citizens—including men, women, and children—dress as San Benito, their patron saint, paint their faces black, and parade throughout the town.

San Benito Festival

Takes place: December

5. The Festival of San Juan

Sanjuan velada
Source: Photo by user Sasha Briceño used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fiesta de San Juan is a three-day, primarily Christian festival to commemorate St. John the Baptist’s birth. This Venezuela festival attracts a large number of participants in the states where it is celebrated. These are exciting days with musical groups from across the region coming to present traditional San Juan rhymes and dances. A solemn mass takes place on the second day, where people sway colored handkerchiefs. The festivities end on the final evening, where crowds stay up late to party.

The Festival of San Juan

Takes place: June

6. Virgin of Coromoto Festival

Señora de Coromoto Patrona de Venezuela
Source: Photo by user Keinmy used under CC BY 3.0

Venezuelans celebrate Our Lady of Coromoto Day, also known as Virgin of Coromoto. The Venezuelan episcopate declared Our Lady of Coromota as the patroness of Venezuela in 1942. Pope Pius XII formally ratified this decision in 1959. People have said that the beautiful virgin has appeared in a vision, calling for the world to be baptized. Some masses are held in her name at National Sanctuary during the festival. People hold a giant net, parading along the streets, on which members of the public are lightheartedly thrown.

Virgin of Coromoto Festival

Takes place: September

7. Carúpano Carnival

Carúpano
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Neotours used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Perhaps even more than Christmas and Holy Week, this four-day festival is considered the most anticipated time of the year in Venezuela. This cultural event in Venezuela is a time for families to come together to celebrate with a musical extravaganza. This traditional carnival is held to celebrate the start of Christian Lent. Similar to Mardi Gras, visitors can see creative participants combine art and colorful fantasy in the streets of Carúpano. They use various types of costumes, including the traditional garb of the royal court and robes. Colorful floats and street parties also characterize the celebration.

Carúpano Carnival

Takes place: February - March

8. Semana Santa

Semana Santa de Guatire patrimonio del Estado Miranda
Source: Photo by user Juan ramon colina used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Semana Santa or Holy Week is considered an important time for Roman Catholics. During Semana Santa is one of the best times to visit many Roman Catholic countries around the world, including Venezuela. During the festival, you’ll be entertained by a variety of unique feasts, events, and religious performances. This combination of religious celebration and merrymaking is typical throughout the rest of South America.

Semana Santa

Takes place: March - April

9. New Year's Eve

Feliz año 2009
Source: Photo by user Inti used under CC BY 2.0

In Venezuela, New Year is considered a significant time of the year. Hence, it is commemorated with a fantastic show and display by the locals. Visitors will see rock concerts and music choirs performed everywhere in the country. The entire land of Venezuela, such as its streets, markets, shopping areas, and business centers, is covered with attractive lights and colors. Craft shows draw a large number of tourists as they display elegant local artworks—along with great local food and South American cuisines.

New Year's Eve

Takes place: December 31

10. Feria del Sol (Fair of the Sun)

Colección Virgen de Candelaria by elduendesuarez 38
Source: Photo by user elduendesuarez used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The festival is also named Virgin de Candelaria, celebrated in February every year. It is similar to the Christian festival called Candlemas. Celebrations in the town of Merida are the most exciting and vibrant. The locals beautify themselves with masks and brightly colored costumes, while there is plenty of dancing late into the night.

Feria del Sol (Fair of the Sun)

Takes place: February

11. La Chinita Fair

Virgen de la Chinita (Plaza El Angel)
Source: Photo by user Rjcastillo used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The vibrant Venezuelan city of Maracaibo makes every effort to celebrate Feria de la Chinita. This Venezuela holiday and festival commemorates the carnival day of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá. An elegantly costumed festival queen leads the 10-day celebration. It is also highlighted with parades, music, games, and folklore legends. A famous Gala of Beauty is held, which is a beauty contest that invites numerous local participants.

La Chinita Fair

Takes place: November

12. El Hatillo Music Festival

Rock en El Hatillo
Source: Photo by user Gustavo J. Mata used under CC BY 2.0

This festival takes place annually in the last two weeks of October in El Hatillo. El Hatillo is a town 10 miles (16 km) south of Caracas that offers an excellent ambiance for the two weeks of festivities. This Venezuelan music festival highlights a mix of jazz, folk, and rock with a rising international reputation.

El Hatillo Music Festival

Takes place: October

Attend some significant events in Venezuela

Danzas Guanaguanare de Venezuela no Festival folclorico da Coruña
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jose Luis Cernada... used under CC BY 2.0

Visiting one of the famous festivals in Venezuela will give you such a fascinating experience. You can expect rhythmic salsa beats, vibrating steel drums, and smoke flowing out of every path. Moreover, there is a lot of food, drinks, dancing, and fireworks. These festivals indeed offer a memorable cultural experience.

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One thing that excites me when I lived or traveled outside Indonesia (Europe, Asia, and the US) is the chance to learn new experiences: "I travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape me."

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