Folk Dance
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Venezuela: Los Diablos de Yare

Informant: Los Diablos de Yare are a religious festival celebrated in Venezuela during Corpus Christi. I remember being introduced to this in school as a child. Every time the festival approached, we would make masks designed to look like devils. Then we would wear the masks and dance around. Even though the masks were designed to look like devils or monsters, they were all extremely colorful. This festivity is a yearly tradition filled with joy, family, and friends. Basically, the whole festivities are made to celebrate good over evil. This is why the masks are made to look like devils and the tradition is considered religious; the whole point is to demonstrate how good will always beat out evil. I don’t remember the origins of it exactly, but I know that it has been a Venezuelan tradition for centuries and that it has obviously evolved over the years. 

Analysis: 

This festival seems to be a very important part of Venezuelan culture. I think the reason why it is so prominent in Venezuela is because its religious. This would explain why schools make a whole celebration out of it and why the tradition has been able to survive for hundreds of years.

I wish the informant would have been able to provide more information as to where and how the tradition originated exactly, but I understand that she has been around it for so long that she just takes it to be a yearly ritual. It’s very intriguing to me that the festival depicts devils in order to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. This demonstrates a very strong imagery that plays with perceptions. It is almost as if the use of devil masks make the devils less intimidating and demonstrate to people that they are stronger than evil. In other words, the creating of this masks can work as a metaphor for taking control over ones own demons. Overall, I really liked this piece of folklore. The vivid colors used for the masks and the dances that happen all around town make it pretty clear that this festival is a time for celebration and family.

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