Los Diablos Danzantes, Venezuela

Jan 13th 2013

The Dancing Devils of Yare

The Dancing Devils of Yare (Diablos Danzantes del Yare) is the name of a religious festivity celebrated in San Francisco de Yare, Venezuela, every year on Corpus Christi day. The Sociedades del Santísimo (Societies of the Holiest) are the instigators of this devilish  celebration. Its origins are traced back to the 18th century, and it’s noted as being the oldest brotherhood of the American continent.

The "Dancing Devils”  wear colorful garments (commonly all red), layers of stripped fabric, masks of demons and devils with accessories like crosses, scapulars, rosaries and other sorts of amulets. 
The fraternity of the devils is divided in hierarchical order, represented in their masks.There are other expressions of this particular festivity named according to the location, such as the Devils of Naiguatá and the Devils of Chuao.

The Festival’s Rituals

The celebration starts Wednesday with a wake where fulías (a native music style) are played, décimas (native form of poetry) are recited and rosaries and other prayers are prayed until dawn.

The next day the devoted disguised as devils perform dances around the principal square of the town. They also parade through the streets, dressed in their red costumes and their masks, dancing to the rhythm of corríos (octosyllabic musical poems).

Later on, they move towards the front of the church and when mass is ended, the Eucharist is placed at the church's entrance and a sort of fight representation begins between the devils and the guardians. Finally, the devils surrender and kneel in front of the Eucharist to show submission, dancing then to the rhythm of the bamba, a music style that is more reverential. The entire performance represents the victory of Good over Evil. The dancing devils wear a red shirts, trousers and stockings, a mask depicting a devil, and canvas sandals. They carry a cross made out of blessed palm leafs, a rosary, and a medallion with the image of Christ (that can be substituted by another Christian religious image). They also carry in one hand a devil-shaped maraca and in the other a whip.

Month May
CategoriesArt & Performance, Cultural Events, Religious Celebrations, South America, Weird & Quirky
AddressSan Francisco de Yare, Venezuela
DatesCorpus Christi Day Every Year May 30, 2013