Saturday, November 3, 2007

Tambores - San Juan Bautista Fiesta in Choroni

Every year on the 24 June coastal towns and villages celebrate the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, described locally as "the saint of the blacks", or the "party saint". This is clearly a syncretic fusion of African traditions brought over by slaves and Catholic iconography. In Choroni and Chuao the statues of Saint John the Baptist are taken down from their places in the church, washed and dressed, offered rum to drink and carried in procession. Devotees carry red flags, the colour associated with San Juan, which adds to the colourful spectacle. Every couple of years there is a "meeting of the saints", when fishing boats take the various statues out to sea to meet and then go in procession to one of the coastal villages for drums, drinks and revelling. A true fusion of the sacred and the profane, folk music does not get more Venezuelan than this. For the drummers, it is a great honour to take part in the exhausting all night, all day celebrations, which generally start on the 23 June and can last up to three days or more.

1 comment:

Jihan Carrasquero Uzcategui said...

OMG, I miss Choroní so much!!!! (I´m living in Spain now.) I got a house in Puerto Colombia & would love to be there. I miss mi Choroní so much. Las parrillitas, la piscina, los amigos, el río, everything. :(