//Christmas in Venezuela – Traditions and customs

Christmas in Venezuela – Traditions and customs

Christmas in Venezuela for Gustavo Mirabal

Series Article #80:


Christmas in Venezuela

The holiday season is approaching where Christmas is celebrated in most countries. Of course the unique Christmas in Venezuela has its charm in each of its celebrations. This is a time of reconciliation, of spending it with family, sharing with friends, in order to enjoy the most beautiful time of the year.

On the other hand, there are mixed feelings because it is the end of a year people evaluate the goals that were set for this period. On many occasions they achieve the objectives in others they achieve only some.

Throughout the country Christmas is celebrated, where the enthusiasm and excitement of the people is the order of the day.

Christmas in Venezuela is celebrated as in most countries in the region. The Christmas season is special since family gatherings, “aguinaldos” and “Venezuelan gaitas”, exchange of gifts among others.

The gastronomy is one of the most outstanding with all the delicacies that are prepared for the occasion.

In this installment we will address a little more about Christmas in Venezuela.

Christmas in Venezuela
Christmas in Venezuela

History of Christmas in Venezuela

In relation to the history of Christmas in Venezuela is based on the birth of baby Jesus, and all commemorations in the country are based on this fact of great relevance to Venezuelan culture.

The historical narratives that exist of Christmas in Venezuela relate that it is a tradition of Spanish culture, which came to the country as part of all the methods and traditions that were reached in the region in the colonial period.

In general, Christmas in Venezuela was formed as part of the religious orders imposed by the conquerors within the framework of the Christianization of all aboriginal peoples.

In relation to the birth of the Child Jesus, it begins in Europe and through cultural assimilation was assumed as a tradition in Venezuela.

Ornaments showing the birth of the baby Jesus with Joseph and Mary
Ornaments showing the birth of the baby Jesus with Joseph and Mary

Traditional Christmas holidays in Venezuela

Venezuela is characterized by having a very wide cultural diversity, due to the mixture of Spaniards, Africans, and aborigines. In addition to this, many European immigrants, and later South American immigrants, arrived in Venezuela in search of better living conditions. All these immigrants also brought their own customs that were incorporated into the miscegenation of Christmas in Venezuela.

This element is mentioned a lot, since the customs are taking other nuances and are enriched. Of course, these customs have the touch and the typical Venezuelan essence.

Christmas in Venezuela usually rotates according to religious celebrations. Since in Venezuela the arrival of the birth of the baby Jesus is the main reason for this celebration. The Venezuelan population is essentially Catholic Christian.

Later it is also celebrated on New Year’s Eve, December 31. The New Year’s celebration also has some very unique customs.

The Christmas tree and the Christmas manger. Typical Christmas decorations in Venezuela
The Christmas tree and the Christmas manger. Typical Christmas decorations in Venezuela

This essence is maintained throughout Venezuela…

All these celebrations begin the first days of December and extend for forty days until the celebration of the feast of Candlemas, when the Purification of the Virgin is evoked.

It should be noted that during the first days of January the paraduras of children in the Venezuelan Andes (Táchira, Mérida and Trujillo) are carried out.

This is how Venezuelan Christmas extends to the first days of January. In this way, elements such as the celebration of the 3 wise men, among others, are incorporated.


Start of Christmas in Venezuela

In general, Christmas in Venezuela starts shortly before the start of December. However, because it is a fundamentally religious celebration, its formal beginning is marked by the Christmas Masses.

Christmas Masses are celebrated from December 15 until Mass on December 24 on Christmas Easter.

Throughout the national territory different celebrations are carried out among which we can mention the following:

  • “San Benito”, “Los Pastores”, “Las Locainas”, “La Burriquita”, among others.
  • The main celebration is Christmas Eve on December 24 and Christmas Day on December 25.
  • To close the cycle of the year with a flourish, New Year’s Eve is celebrated on December 31 and the New Year on January 1.
  • the Epiphany of the Lord or On January 6 the celebration of the Magi takes place
  • In the Venezuelan Andes the traditional “Paraduras del Niño” are held that extend until February 2 where the Day of the Virgin of Candelaria is celebrated.
  • In the case of Zulian people, Christmas begins on November 18 with the adoration of the “Virgen de la Chinita”.
  • Christmas in Venezuela is celebrated to the sound of Venezuelan Christmas music, composed mainly of the Zulian Gaitas and the aguinaldos.
Concert of Venezuelan Gaitas
Concert of Venezuelan Gaitas

Christmas Gastronomy in Venezuela

One of the most outstanding aspects of Christmas in Venezuela is the gastronomy. For example, for Christmas dinner is shared with the family where they eat the typical hallacas, ham bread, chicken salad.

It should be noted that the elaboration of the hallacas will vary depending on the region of the country. Since in some areas they add other additional ingredients. Or also the way of cooking is different.

Among the drinks or you may miss the popular cream punch. In addition, desserts such as “dulce de lechosa” or papaya sweet among others are served.

On this website we have a very detailed article about Christmas gastronomy in Venezuela that you can visit to learn more.

For the New Year’s Eve celebration, pig leg, chicken salad and bread are usually served. In addition, in most cases the hallaca returns to be the protagonist of the New Year’s dinner.

Also, a table is served with grapes, tangerines, almonds, black cake among other delicacies

Although the most important thing about these dates is to share in harmony with the family and enjoy good health.

Typical Christmas foods in Venezuela
Typical Christmas foods in Venezuela

Christmas in Venezuela, a time of joy, food and loved ones

We can see the importance of Christmas in Venezuela, being considered one of the most relevant celebrations for Venezuelan culture.

In Venezuela, Christmas is considered as the season of the year that begins from the first days of December. It is from there when you see the streets and the ornate shopping centers alluding to the occasion.

In addition to the birth of baby Jesus, Venezuelans have a great diversity of festivities during all these dates. So, it is very common to listen to Christmas music like “Venezuelan Gaitas” and “aguinaldos”.

Without a doubt, Christmas is a time of reconciliation, forgiveness, encounters and rethinking the way we perceive our environment.

On the other hand, it is time to consider the real goals for next year.