THE FLOATING HOLIDAY

Photo owned by: Iraida Bethencourt

My grandma, when she was young, dressed up for the carnaval celebrations.          Photo owned by: Iraida Bethencourt

Venezuela has many traditions and feasts but the one that is most celebrated around all of Venezuela are the ‘carnavales‘. There are many reports about this specific tradition because it is one of the few events that makes the whole country come alive. Some of those reports that cover this are Countries and Their Cultures -VenezuelaVenezuelan Culture and Discover Venezuela.

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

This feast is always celebrated in the month of february but with no specific date because it takes place forty days before Good Friday and since Easter changes every year, the date of the holiday changes also. The way it works is that people get the friday and following monday of the week off work and school. Everyone celebrates it a little different depending on where they live in Venezuela. People from cities have different events and activities than the people in the pueblos. For example, usually the people from the city leave and go to the beach that is close by whereas those from the more rural places stay in their towns. At the end of the day though, they all aim the celebration towards the same thing.

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

Picture owned by: Emilia Rodriguez Robles

The festivals are extremely colorful. The country suddenly changes its look. Everything is decorated and the streets are all lit up. Then the Venezuelans themselves dress with the traditional costumes and perform many of our traditional dances. There is a lot of folk music and joropo, which is a typical Venezuelan dance. There is also dancing of salsa and merengue which are danced in any party during the year. Music and dancing has always taken a strong role in Venezuelan culture. There are also those who just go to the beach and have different events there. Since I am from the city, my family and I usually went to the beach. I remember that we had a lot of water balloon fights and sand castle competitions in which everyone competed. There are also the typical Venezuelan foods such as Arepas, cachapas, empanadas and tequeños that are served at this event. It is a time when the culture and tradition that all have inside are released in a very extroverted way. It is great to remember these things because a lot of the times when we hear about Venezuela it is bad news. It is about the corrupted government or about how dangerous it is. But we must keep in mind that even though it is a country that is struggling, there are still beautiful things within it. Despite what goes is going on in this country, the Carnavales keep being celebrated, remembering the wonderful things such an amazing country has to offer. Written by: Iraida Bethencourt Graterón

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