Dancing Devils of Yare, Venezuela

Dancing Devils of Yare, Venezuela

MAY 30


One of the most spectacular and colorful festivals in Venezuela is the Festival of the Dancing Devils of Yare, which dates back to 1749.

One of the most impressive and vibrant festivals in Venezuela, the Dancing Devils of Yare, originated in 1749, and in 2024, it will take place on May 30th.

On each Feast of Corpus Christi—a date that commemorates the Body of Christ and the Eucharist (or the Last Supper)—the town of San Francisco de Yare in the Tuy Valley of Miranda State, located 70 km south of the capital Caracas, hosts a festival known throughout the country. This festival is sometimes called the Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi.

Masks of the Dancing Devils of Yare

Masks of the Dancing Devils of Yare

Residents of Yare dress in red—although other places favor harlequin-style costumes—and wear horned masks representing devils, then come out to dance in an annual ceremony. Others dress as fantastical creatures. In fact, there is a complex hierarchy. Usually, the more horns, the more significant the devil.

Initially, the devils crawl to the church to repent. After they symbolically receive forgiveness, the dance begins to the rhythm of many drums and maracas. Some dancers also wear small bells that jingle during the celebration of their new life. From a solemn beginning, the atmosphere turns into a carnival or a large street party.

Controversial history of Venezuela's Dancing Devils

Yare is a small town, and the Dancing Devils originated here in 1749. However, they were not immediately approved by the church. In fact, there are eleven festivals or brotherhoods across the country, although women are increasingly participating in the celebrations. The festival in Yare is the most famous and probably the most attended. All are recognized by UNESCO.

The Body of Christ, or "Corpus Christi," was a Roman celebration of the Eucharist. It is held on the Thursday after Trinity. However, the celebrations in Venezuela combine elements that come from the nation's African heritage.

The masks of the dancing devils and fantastical creatures are often made of papier-mâché and then painted with bright colors. They are popular items in craft and souvenir shops in Caracas and the surrounding areas.

When will the Dancing Devils of Yare Festival take place in 2024?

It is held on Corpus Christi Day, which in 2024 falls on May 30. In 2025, it will be on June 19.

Flights to Venezuela

Currently, only a few international flights arrive in Caracas: American, Copa, Air Europa, Air Portugal, and Air France. From Caracas, you will need ground transportation. Since Yare is a small town, probably the best way to get there is to hire a taxi for a few hours and return to Caracas after the ceremony.

Another place to watch the Dancing Devils is Naiguatá on the coast about 90 minutes' drive from Caracas, where nearby, in the state of Vargas' Macuto, there are hotels and guesthouses.