Local traditions and culture in Caracas

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Caracas

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    "Oh, Xmas tree, oh Xmas tree, of tree of..."

    by carolinaEspada Updated Dec 19, 2004

    I'm NOT dreaming of a white Xmas... How could I?!?!?! It's imposible; I'm realistic... In Caracas you cant!!! It's sooo sunny here!!!

    Now... about the Xmas tree... of course that is not a local tradition of our own, but we dont care!!! In our houses, next to the Nativity figures: Baby Jesus, Virgin Mary, Saint José, the 3 holly kings: Melchor, Gaspar & Baltazar, one little lamb, we put our Xmas tree.

    It can be a real one (imported from Canada, very expensive); a fake one (that you ensamble every year); or this trully original that we have on the balcony of our apartment.

    Venezuelans are open to any kind of celebration: Xmas Spirit on Dec 21rst, Xmas trees, Turkey, Xmas Carrolls in English. Unfortunaltely not many people know about the miseltoe tradition. I must spread the news this Xmas. I'm going to see if I can find miseltoe in Caracas. I will wear it in my hair with a hair pin.

    THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR CELEBRATION!!!

    Güigüichu a Merry Xmas 2004 and a Happy New Year 2005!!!

    (photo credit: Alejandro Dembo)

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    Christmas wreaths are "Coronas de Navidad"

    by carolinaEspada Updated Dec 19, 2004

    That is another forein tradition that were were more than happy to incorporate to our Xmas celebrations since the last century.

    Not everyone has one on the main door of their homes, though, but you get to see a lot of them (decorated in the most pure 100% United States of America style).

    This year, for the first time in... 15? 20? years... I placed one in our door. I bought the green pine wreath and decorated it "thematically". Everything that I putted in it has to do with my new book: "La Telenovela in Venezuela". So far, neighbors and visitors have founded it cute and amusing.

    The picture was taken by my official photographer and friend since kindergarten: Alejandro Dembo. (In my Halloween album you can see him wearing a flower-coconut bra).

    Güigüichu a Merry Xmas!!!

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    Baby Jesus: "El Niño Jesús"

    by carolinaEspada Written Dec 19, 2004

    Forget Santa, the reindeers and Rudolph. We venezuelans, who are so open to forein Xmas traditions and characters, dont believe in Santa Claus. Probably because we dont have chimenies.

    BUT WE HAVE BABY JESUS: our dear darling "Niño Jesús".

    Somewhere the spanish xmas present celebration got confused in Venezuela. In Spain, in Puerto Rico, in other latinamerican countries, are the 3 holly kings the ones to bring presents to the kids on Jan 6th (as they did with baby Jesus 2004 years ago). But here in Venezuela, the one that brings presents is the sweet little new born baby Jesus, on the morning of Dec.25th. Extrange traditition, but ours, and a very loved and dear one.

    Kids are now writting their letters to "El Niño Jesús". My mom (83) wrote hers as well.

    HURRAY FOR EL NIÑO JESÚS!!!

    ¡¡¡Feliz Navidad!!!

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    "El Nacimiento" (The Nativity)

    by carolinaEspada Updated Dec 19, 2004

    Although we are open to any kind of forein Xmas traditition and celebration: xmas trees, carrolls in English, german breads, italian pandoro and pannettone, spanish "turrones", french bois de noel, the welcoming of the spirit of xmas on Dec. 21rst, wearing funny earings from the U.S., getting dressing in red and green, etc... our tradition in Venezuela is to put a "Nacimiento". A nativity scene with San José, Virgin Mary, the mule and the "buey" (oak?), a little white lamb, people from Belén (Bethlehem), the STAR and three holly kings, which in Spanish are called Reyes Magos (magician kings). We dont place Baby Jesus in the nativity until December 24th, when he was born.

    This tradition, of course, comes from Spain. We were, if not discovered, at least found by Cristóbal Colón (Columbus) and then colonized and christianised by spaniards. Since colonial times, "nacimientos" are our tradition.

    There are simple, modern, original "nacimientos" (like the one in the pic) and there are the trully traditional ones that require lots -tons- of work. With boxes covered with thick brown paper (like the ones of the groceries stores) you built a landscape with mountains and a valley.There always has to be a river -blue painting and glitter- that runs down from the mountain and ends up in a lake (a mirror...). Then is the whole mise-en-scene of the nativity moment.

    You can see this everywhere: in houses, in the churches, in the subway, in the schools... anywhere.

    Now, a sexual-reproduction thought:

    Virgin Mary was virgin.
    San José was much more older than Mary and it is said that he could not have any kids.
    The mule is a mixed animal: is the result of the intercourse of a he-donkey and a she-horse; or a she-donkey and a he-horse. This mixed animal can not reproduce. It cant.
    The "buey" is a castrated he-cow. A bull with out testicles (cutted in order to have an strong, but mild, animal for working in the field purposes).

    Has this ever come up to your mind?

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    Ponchecrema: OUR MERRY CHRISTMAS DRINK!!!

    by carolinaEspada Written Nov 28, 2004

    "Ponche crema" (also written "ponchecrema") is a typical venezuelan drink, specially for Christmas. You can get it all year long in liquors stores or supermarkets... but I woundent have a sip of ponchecrema from January until November. It´s a December celebration's drink. (Specially on the 24th and the 31st).

    What is it like? Very simple: very sweet, "thick-heavy-with body", white liquid. You can make your own with Venezuela's finest rhum "Aniversario" + milk + condemsed milk + one egg + a little bit of nutmegg.
    MIX REALLY WELL and chill.

    But you always can buy a bottle of the original brand "Ponche Crema de Eliodoro González P."

    The homemade one you mush make, chill and drink. The "comercial" one -once opened- you can save it in the refrigerator for ever... for next Xmas. And that is something you really want to drink in a venezuelan snowless Chistmas.

    Be merry!!!

    And dont forget:

    One pochecrema
    two ponchecremas
    three ponchecremas...
    DRUNK!!!

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    GREAT HUGGERS!!!

    by carolinaEspada Written Nov 11, 2004

    Yes, we venezuelan are great huggers. We are not shy about kissing and hugging (friends we have had of ever, or even people that we have recently met).

    Now, men embrase each other, but a man will not kiss another man. We dont do that here. (They do that in Russia).

    On the contrary, a woman can hug and kiss another woman, but should never kiss her on the lips. (They do that in Rumania).

    Men kissing men, and women kissing other woman on the lips is not a Venezuelan tradition.

    Venezuelan men and women hug and kiss each other if they are plain regular friends, pals, classmates, work partners, whatever. You never kiss anyone on the lips. You have to be in love for that...or, at least, have sexual intentions.

    But I love this super hugging and kissing all the time.

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    Venezuela's National Anthem

    by carolinaEspada Written Oct 9, 2004

    Is called: ¡Gloria al bravo pueblo! (Glory to the brave people!).

    Lyrics by Vicente Salias; music by Juan José Landaeta.
    President Antonio Guzmán Blanco declared it our oficial national anthem on May, 25th, 1881.

    Whenever you hear it, you are supposed to stand up, sing with respect and period. Yes. Period. No clapping at the end, no whisteling, no yelling "hurray"!!! No. The end and absolute and respectful silence.

    But... that is the way it was... young people nowdays, clap, whistle, root and chear... I guess I will have to get used to it.

    Here it is:

    GLORIA AL BRAVO PUEBLO

    Coro

    Gloria al bravo Pueblo
    que el yugo lanzó,
    la ley respetando
    la virtud y honor.
    I

    ¡Abajo Cadenas!
    gritaba el señor;
    y el pobre en su choza
    Libertad pidió:
    A este santo nombre
    tembló de pavor
    el vil egoísmo
    que otra vez triunfó.

    Coro

    -II-

    Gritemos con brío:
    ¡Muera la opresión!
    Compatriotas fieles,
    la fuerza es la unión;
    y desde el Empíreo
    el supremo Autor,
    un sublime aliento
    al pueblo infundió.

    Coro
    -III-

    Unida con lazos
    que el cielo formó
    la América toda
    existe en Nación;
    y si el despotismo
    levanta la voz,
    seguid el ejemplo
    que Caracas dio.

    Coro
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    listen to the music on the www below.

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    NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS OF VENEZUELA

    by carolinaEspada Written Oct 9, 2004

    In Spanish is simply called "escudo", which means "shield".
    El Escudo Nacional. But I checked my dictionary and it said: heraldry, an escutcheon, coat of arms. My friend M.C.Valecillos from Tsukuba, Japan, assured me that the correct way to say it is: "National Coat of Arms of Venezuela".

    So, there...

    Thank you once again, M.C.

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    Venezuelan men... wow!!!

    by carolinaEspada Updated Oct 4, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    They come in many varieties, shapes, every color, every size, most of them have an extraordinary sense of humor, most of them are awesome dancers, most of them are extremely sweet and great huggers...

    I couldent live with out them.

    In the picture, from left to right: Nicolás Bracho, Lucky-Me in red hawaian shirt (*), Fernando Valera, Alejandro Dembo and Pedro José Acosta.

    All of us, loving friends since kindergarten.

    (*) Thank you Frank Burke for this hawaian shirt. I love you!!!

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    "When you wish upon a...car"...

    by carolinaEspada Written Feb 29, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Make sure is a red one. But in order to make a wish you need to see a black dog. A red car and a black dog, and then make a wish. It will come true!

    I dont know if this is a tradition in Caracas or just in my generation. But many of my friends (and myself) cant see a red car without looking around for a black dog inmediately.

    "When you wish upon a "car", makes no difference who you are
    Anything your heart desires will come to you"...

    But you have to spot a black dog at the same time... Is not as simple as wishing upon stars...

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    Hanging out on the streets

    by Saringuis Written Feb 9, 2006

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    You will find that alot of people in Caracas hang on the streets, talking, having a beer, playing dominos...

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    Teque?os

    by Saringuis Written Feb 9, 2006

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    They are a delicious snack you can get in alot of places. Sort of a baked roll with cheese inside. Works well with ketchup. TO SHARE!;)

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    Papal death

    by travelife Written May 18, 2005

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    It was the day I left Venezuela when Pope brethed his last. The newspaper broght the news of yesterday 'The World Prays' which in Spanish means 'El Mundo Reza'. So my name in Spanish means 'Pray'!

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    Early riser

    by travelife Written May 18, 2005

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    I would have liked to sleep a little longer. But how could you when you already hearing the sound busy foot-steps and showers in the hotel. Venezuelans start their days early.

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