Venezuela Culture and Traditions
A former Spanish possession, independent since 1821, Venezuela is a presidential federal republic; it includes 23 states, each with its own legislative assembly and governor, a Federal District that houses the capital, and various Federal Dependencies, consisting of some islands of the Antillean Sea, which depend directly on the central government. According to the Constitution of 15 December 1999 (which amends the 1961 Text), executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected by universal and direct suffrage for a six-year term; in the exercise of his functions, he is assisted by the Council of Ministers appointed by him. The legislative power it is up to the unicameral Parliament, the National Assembly, whose members are elected every 5 years. The Code of Criminal Procedure in use replaced the previous Napoleonic code; it also provides for the participation of popular judges in the trials. Justice is administered by the Supreme Court, divided internally into three sections: criminal, civil-constitutional and administrative.
According to ebizdir, the forms that characterize Venezuelan culture and society have origins common to all of South America, namely the Spanish colonizers and the African slaves (although they arrived here to a lesser extent) superimposed or combined with the native one. Western models have grown stronger over the course of the twentieth century, helping to create a mixture of values and habits in which Christian sacraments and tribal practices, prepackaged foods and local specialties, baseball and bullfighting coexist.. Venezuelan literature, relatively young, has been able to carve out an important space within the Latin American world, even without voices capable of imposing themselves on critics and the world public on a par with other South American writers. More than in other realities, literary and artistic production in general has been confronted with the socio-political context in which it was immersed: the theme of oppression and freedom, exile and roots have been investigated by practically all. generations of authors, starting with S. Bolívar. Nationalistic sentiments are also present in the works of many painters and composers, even if the twentieth century saw the progressive spread of European and international influences, a factor that contributed to introducing new themes and styles to the country. The beating heart of Venezuela’s artistic activity remains, especially for activities such as theater or cultured music, Caracas. The capital is home to the major institutions built during the twentieth century to support the development of different cultural realities. The University City of Caracas has also been part, since 2000, of the UNESCO World Heritage List, together with Coro and its port (included in 1993 and included, however, among the sites in danger).
In some areas of Venezuela there are some traditions that constituted the cultural background of the tribes that inhabited the country in the pre-Columbian age: for example in spring, in the State of Lara, a particular ceremony is still celebrated in which people dance by impressing the body with a movement that it wants to reproduce that of the wind; the same dance is found during the Christmas holidays among the populations of the eastern area. Complex in its movements, the dance is directed by a capataz and eight mayordomos, men and women. Subsequently the appointment of the cachique (head of the village) is accomplished with the delivery of a wicker whip covered with black wax; if the cachique dies during his tenure, the whip is burned and replaced with a new one. The ceremony continues with the reading of ancient texts, containing moral and political teachings with adequate historical comments. In the past, among the population of the Venezuelan Andes, it was common to mummify the dead and bury them in caves in a sitting position. But there are many customs that have been preserved such as that of the Orinoco delta where legumes are grown inside a trunk dug in the shape of a canoe. Not only that: in the houses of the peasants it is not difficult to find even today figurines of the deity of corn or the god of fertility. On the other hand, the cultural heritage of the largely dispersed black population has given rise to singular syncretisms: now merging with Christian traditions, now with Indian customs. Popular music from Venezuela also shows indie, Spanish and African influences; the work songs, vocal or vocal-instrumental, with strong modal influences, religious songs linked to Catholic holidays, dances such as the tone llanero and joropo (both of Spanish origin) and also the merengue, the galerón, the corrido, the polo, the cumbía (of Afro-Antillan origin). Venezuelan cuisine is particularly rich: among the most popular dishes, which constitute the so-called comida criolla, a crossroads of the three ethnic-cultural components, arepa (corn pie), hallaca (a sort of Christmas “calzone” stuffed with meat), the pabellón (national dish based on meat, rice, beans, cheese and plantain) and the sancocho. Beer, rum and coffee are the most common drinks.