La Parranda de San Pedro de Guarenas y Guatire
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Inscribed in 2013 (8.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Every year in the small towns of Guarenas and Guatire, devotees of San Pedro the Apostle celebrate his saint’s day with a series of popular festivities and rituals. An image of San Pedro is stored in all the town’s churches while the saint is celebrated with popular songs. Then, at midnight, a mass is held and the images are taken out and paraded through the streets. Central to the celebration is a re-enactment of the story of the slave María Ignacia, whose daughter was healed by the saint. Parranderos play key roles in the drama, wearing colourful, carefully prepared costumes representing the different characters, while other participants bear flags and banners, dance, play instruments, sing and improvise popular tunes. Women participate by preparing and training younger generations through workshops and by decorating the churches, dressing images of the saint and cooking traditional dishes. During the festival, the dancers, together with their families, neighbours and other community adults and children, gather to share moments of joy and togetherness. Every gathering serves to celebrate the spirit of the community, the energy and happiness of the dancers, and the vitality of a tradition that symbolizes and reasserts the struggle against injustice and inequality.