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Venezuela is a country that has great cultural diversity, which is why each region has very unique customs and traditions. The mixture of colors and rhythms are present in these popular celebrations. Every June 24 the colorful and joyous celebration in honor of Saint John the Baptist is held in some states of the country.

So the hubbub is present on the Venezuelan coasts. In general, the towns of this Miranda, Aragua and Vargas are devotees of this saint.

In this installment, we will discuss what is related to this important cultural celebration of Saint John the Baptist in Venezuela.

It should be noted that this celebration is held in other countries, an example of this is Spain.

So Happy St. John the Baptist day.

June 24th, commemoration of a battle and celebration of the horses of Saint John the Baptist

June 24 is a date of commemoration and celebration at the same time, this being an unusual mix.

That is why in the Carabobo state the acts alluding to the commemoration of the Battle of Carabobo are carried out. This is a propitious date to pay tribute to the heroes of this battle.

However, in other states the feast of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated. The states where this colorful celebration takes place are Aragua, Miranda and Vargas. Also in the East of the country specifically the Bolivar State.

Bolívar state is where the San Juan horses are displayed. In addition, drum beats, “zangueo” songs and siren songs are common in this joyous celebration in honor of Saint John the Baptist.

“Zangueo” are a Genre of Afro-Venezuelan music whose purpose is to venerate Saint John the baptist with colorful scarves and flags.

In the celebration of June 24 to pay tribute to Saint John the Baptist, children, adolescents and adults gather to carry out activities alluding to this important day. This is a reflection of the richness of cultural diversity in Venezuela.

The rituals of Saint John the Baptist
The rituals of St. John the Baptist

Summer solstice – celebration of Saint John the Baptist

The summer solstice is the perfect time to celebrate one of the largest cultural and ancestral manifestations that some states in the country have.

The Feast of Saint John the Baptist usually takes place in the coastal areas. Miranda, Aragua, Vargas, Carabobo and Bolívar are the venezuelan states where this colorful and joyous celebration takes place are .

These festivals represent religiosity, gratitude, protection, joy, music and devotion among others.

This religious tradition is carried out for three days, from June 23 to 25.

To start, altars alluding to this patronal feast are ordered.

They are three days of celebration, rhythm of drums, and liquor. The dance accompanies the celebration of San Juan de Bautista and gathers devotees from all over the country.

In general, as part of the celebration of Saint John the Baptist, a procession is held in the towns.

For this Saint John the Baptist image is carried by the members of the community on shoulders.

Then, the mass is carried out with all the praises, prayers, requests and acknowledgments.

In addition, after mass, the beat of the drums begins, to honor Saint John the Baptist, this being a very beloved and venerated saint.

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The origin of the dance of Saint John the Baptist

“As they separated and each pulled on their own, they danced a dance. But the Devil could not with Saint John because he was heavy. And Saint John mounted his horse and continued traveling through these worlds of God. From that day on, Saint John likes to dance and drink. That is why San Juan is a party animal”

(Version collected in Cuyagua, edo. Aragua, To Mrs. Martina Gil, in June, 1985)

We can see that enjoyment, excitement and revelry prevail in this popular demonstration in honor of San Juan. That is why in the places where the tribute to this saint is celebrated they become a three-day party.

Without a doubt, the culture of Venezuela and its great variety are full of colors, smells and flavors that fill those present with joy.

The Procession
The Procession

“If Saint John has it, Saint John gives it to you”

This is one of the most popular phrases in the celebration of St. John the Baptist. Well, it’s not just the party and the dance, but the faith that each one puts into this saint.

Therefore devotees ask with great faith that their requests be fulfilled.

So the phrase that resonates the most in this celebration is the following:

“If Saint John has it, Saint John gives it to you”

Among the requests from parishioners often make are the following: Health, abundance, and even new couples top the request list. Indeed, on this day full of color, magic and music everything seems to be possible.

The Day of Saint John the Baptist is one of the most anticipated of the year. This celebration takes place in different countries of the planet.

In Venezuela the celebration has its origin in the colonial era. In this sense, the Spanish colonizers inculcated religious slaves in their slaves and they merged them with their African traditions.

Consequently we have a celebration in honor of Saint John the Baptist full of popular songs, drums and fantastic rites.

Without a doubt, the celebration in honor of Saint John nourishes the faith of its parishioners.

Altar dedicated to St. John's
Altar dedicated to St. John’s

Ancestral rites in the framework of the celebration of St. John the Baptist

Venezuelans are attached to popular beliefs. For this reason we will mention a series of rituals that are performed on the day of San Juan.

  • Cutting hair to make it grow abundant and beautiful is one of the rituals practiced on Saint John’s Day.
  • In some areas, especially on the Coasts of Aragua, the Baptism of San Juan is performed on the closest beaches of each community.
  • Some believe in the good luck that the saint transmits when he is prayed or danced with devotion.
  • On the feast of Saint John your devotees may have an opportunity to consult their future.
  • Just like these rituals there is a long list of rites that devotees perform in the celebration of Saint John the Baptist.
Saint John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist

In summary

The celebration of Saint John the Baptist has a very special meaning for those who believe in this saint.

It is significant that on June 24th the birth of St. John the Baptist is celebrated and that in Venezuela this means a three-day feast. Undoubtedly the birth of the one who announced the coming of Jesus is something to celebrate. A party that any Venezuelan or tourist should know.

Gustavo Mirabal Castro is a devotee of St. John the Baptist and had the opportunity to know this wonderful tradition with his wife. Definitely an opportunity to connect with Venezuelan folklore and religiosity.

It should be noted that this popular event is a mixture of the Spanish and African culture that has been carried out to date.

In this 2020 it will be the exception of not celebrating in crowds due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the faith of the Venezuelan remains intact and they call for the end of the pandemic and the health of all.

 

Sources

https://gustavomirabalcastro.online/venezuela/celebracion-de-san-juan-bautista-en-venezuela/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nativity_of_Saint_John_the_Baptist

 

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