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Information of interest about the Aragua State:


The Aragua state is located in the central-northern region of Venezuela, and is bounded by the Caribbean sea in the north, Guárico state in the south, Vargas, Miranda and Guárico states in the east, and Carabobo and Guárico states in the west. Its name is given by the river with the same name which is the main tributary of Valencia lake. Its capital is the vigorous city of
Maracay.


Venezuela has a popular culture that is among the richest in the world and gathers native, Hispanic and African elements. It is a merger that not only involves evident aspects, such as music, dances or handicrafts, but also embraces family life styles, social organization, political dynamics, religious practice, and even ways to have fun and how to look into history.

All Venezuelan towns, as small as they may be, have their own festivities to celebrate their patron saint, and they include a significant part of the calendar of saints’ days. These patron saints’ feasts are splendid and last several days, the square is filled up and there are a diversity of games, dances, cockfights, regional food and processions during which the saint is taken to the street to bless the people.

"Dancing Devils" Aragua State

Although the best known Dancing Devils in Venezuela are those of San Francisco de Yare in Miranda state, this feast also takes place in other regions of the country. Aragua is one of them. Probably this is one of the states where the feast is celebrated with greater enthusiasm and a large participation of towns. In Aragua, there are Dancing Devils in Cata, Chuao, Cuyagua, Ocumare de la Costa, and in the very same capital of Aragua state, Maracay. 

The Dancing Devils are one of the most colorful expressions of Venezuelan popular religiousness, which goes back to the Spanish 16 th Century. Then it moved to Venezuelan lands, where profound changes were made to the celebration itself. 

This ceremony is celebrated on Corpus Christi Day, and is a representation of the final triumph of Christ over evil. This is why the special devil disguises worn by the participants is one of the most important aspects of the dramatization of the struggle between good and evil.

The feast starts very early in the morning, and includes the ritual dance to pay promises and the garments that change from place to place. The outfit consists of red shirt and pants in Yare, while in Aragua state it is a patterned outfit with vivid colors and includes a cape. The flashiest items are the masks, which are vivid examples of creativity and represent fantastic animals with queer and fiery looks. In Aragua it is common to use the bark of the gourd tree to make the masks, which are painted and rimmed with cloth to protect the face.

The Devils, which are members of a strict brotherhood, invade the streets. They stand at the main door of the temple in which the mass is said and they perform their own rituals while waiting for the procession, which they join dancing and offering a brief number before the numerous altars installed along the way. Usually they are accompanied by a drum or soundbox, cuatro (small four-stringed guitar) and maracas played by the dancers. The feast ends with a ritual dinner in the house of one of the members of the brotherhood.

 

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