Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Maracuchos Celebrate La Feria de La Chinita in Venezuela

Picture by Antonio Cuauro

Maracaibo is Venezuela’s second most important city, located in Zulia, a state bordering with Colombia. Even though this city lays within Venezuelan borders, it appears to be a different country, with its own rules, language and culture.

Over there, “la ley Guajira” rules over Venezuelan rules, its inhabitants speak “maracucho”, which hardly classifies as Spanish, and they follow their own regional traditions.

In Novemver, maracuhos honor their city’s patron La Virgen de Chiquinquirá (or Virgen de la Chinita) with a celebration that lasts several weeks. During this time they display all characteristic traditions that make them unique.

Maracuchos begin celebrations of the Feria de la Chinita with the lighting of Christmas decorations that adorn Avenida Bella Vista until January. Then, they continue with novilladas and bull runs at Plaza de Toros Monumental de Maracaibo.

During this time, it is impossible to find a silent place in Maracaibo, since maracuchos proudly play gaitas in every city corner through potent speakers that incite you to dance to the rhythm of traditional gaita instruments like: furro, maracas, cuatro, charrasca and tambora.

The Feria ends with the Amanecer Gaitero, where zulianos dance until sunrise listening to different gaita groups.

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