We’ve seen how much you enjoy our deliciosas arepas, how much you love their variety and all its different fillings. So, we’ve decided to tell you a bit more about our beautiful Venezuela and its diverse culture.
To start you need to know that we are a very diverse country marked by three different cultures: indigenous, African and Spanish; yes, they all converged in our territory during the colonial era. Know a day, we’re still an interesting mixture of races in which happens to be difficult to find someone who doesn’t have indigenous, European or African roots. In fact, many of us share more than one.
From the Africans we could say they mainly influenced our music. Like The “tambor” (drums) for example, it became one of the most common musical instrument in the Venezuelan culture. It represents an important part of us in many different manifestations. We also have our typical traditional songs in which, by paying close attention to the lyrics, you’ll find tons of stories from the everyday tasks that man and woman performed daily at the fields. These songs come from the colonial era, when the black slaves sang during work to express their sorrows, joys, experiences, and other emotions.
Now, let’s go over our indigenous heritage.
We got from them important historical aspects, like our gastronomy. It’s no secret that our most delicious dishes come from their cultural influences, like our arepa that, as you now, it happens to be the queen among them all. But hey, we also count with other delicious plates like “Cachapas” (crumpets): made like pancakes, but out of fresh ground corn mixed into a thick batter and cooked on a “budare; you can also find it as: “Cachapa de hoja”, wrapped in dry corn leaves and boiled. It doesn’t matter how you prefer it, a bit of butter and a delicious slice of “queso de mano”, will complete this master piece.
And how about our one of a kind Christmas dish: “Hallaca”. This corn dough stuffed with a stew of beef, pork, and chicken, adorned with raisins, capers, olives and wedges of fowl meat, is the star on our Christmas dinner table. Sounds mouthwatering, right? Just imagine all those ricos sabores venezolanos wrapped in plantain leaves and tied with strings. Mmm, just boil them and they’ll be ready to set the table.
But not everything in our indigenous heritage is about food, they also had a great influence on the conformation of our lexicon. They inherited us words that you’ve already heard like: arepa, budare, aguacate, chocolate…, and so the list goes on.
Time to move on to our Spanish culture. These traditions mainly correspond to Andalusia, since the most part of the colonists that settled in the Caribbean came from this specific Spanish region. They left us big influences in many different aspects, like: music, religion, architecture, food, and perhaps one of the most important ones, our language. Like we said before, we might have words that come from other cultures, but the Spanish language is the one that conquers our country.
As you’ve seen, we’re an interesting cultural mixture that has manage to build a unique identity of our own. Being influenced by all these traits have lead the way to traditions that scream “Somos Venezuela”. Let us tell you about a few of them:
- Los Diablos de Yare: this is an annual traditional in which we celebrate Corpus Christi, where the religious and magical beliefs of good and evil are reaffirmed through a colorful dance. Wearing masks and red clothing, the devils represent Lucifer and the intention of surrender to the holy sacrament.
- Joropo: is the most important representation of Venezuelan folk music, the one that describes our identity. This sound of “arpa, cuatro y maracas” comes from our “Llanos Venezolanos”, and is usually accompanied by songs that tell stories about love, landscapes from “los llanos”, heroic and patriotic themes.
- Navidad y Año Nuevo: Christmas might be one of the most important times of the year for Venezuelans. Our celebrations are carried from the beginning of December and, in some areas of the country, they remain until February. It’s a big party to celebrate the birth of Child Jesus on the 25th, along with the celebration of New Year’s Eve on the 31st. This time of the year counts with a well-marked cultural identity when it comes to: food, music, dances and traditions. But the most important thing is that Christmas in Venezuela, is the perfect opportunity to meet up and spend time with our family.
So, what can we say from all of this? Well, we know we’re specially known to be extremely happy, friendly and welcoming people; and that’s just fine, that’s who we are. We just love to live life as it comes, making sure to always carry our “tricolor” inside us, next to our well-mixed roots.