On Thursday, members of the Dancing Devils, a Venezuelan ceremonial brotherhood, held their annual Corpus Christi celebration by asking for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and around the world.
Since the 1700s, groups of adult men and youth in communities along Venezuela’s central coast have dressed up as masked devils and performed a rite in which they surrender to God as a symbol of good triumphing over evil. According to the culture ministry, the Roman Catholic event is celebrated in a way that combines indigenous, African, and Spanish customs.
The festivities in Naiguata, a town 52 kilometers (32 miles) northeast of the capital Caracas, began mid-morning on Thursday and finished after 6 p.m. local time. Residents played drums for dancers who dressed as devils that took an animal form, such as horses, dogs or cats, with bells tied to their waists.
“We must ask the most holy sacrament of the altar for disappearance of (the pandemic) throughout the world because what we are experiencing is bad,” said Henry Gonzalez, who has been dancing with the group for 50 years after starting at age 7.
“We do this so that the tradition never wanes,” he said.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Dancing Devils part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.
According to Efren Yriarte, head of the dancing devils’ association in Naiguata, the celebration was allowed because the demons wear face masks under their decorative masks and the outdoor event observed pandemic distancing procedures.
a few dancers “Too many people have died as a result of this pandemic, and people are hoping for it to end. The dancers’ relatives had died “Ervis Rodriguez has been a member of the fraternity for almost 20 years.
Official data from Venezuela reveals around 238,000 instances of coronavirus and 2,689 deaths, but many health professionals believe the real figures are significantly higher.