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History of Naiguata



Naguita has a rich cultural and folkloric tradition. Beginning with the New Year in January when most of the population of 15,000 greets the boat carrying the Sardine of Naiguata. El Día de los Reyes or the day of 3 kings is celebrated on the 7th of January the coming of the magical kings as everyone prepares for the Carnaval coming soon thereafter in February. Particularly renowned for the Naiguata Carnival is Ash Wednesday when the town performs the “Burial of the Sardine” in grand fashion combining dance, the theater disguises, music, representations and the poetry, and marking the conclusion of the Carnaval season. This Carnaval Celebration peaks on the two weekends on either side of Ash Wednesday.

June is the month when Naiguta's street celebrations of Corpus Christi are distinguished for their colorful lively devil dancers made up in red and gold. The observance, set in relation to Easter Sunday usually occurs in June. Unlike celebrations in Chuao and San Francisco de Yare, women are allowed to portray devil dancers in Naiguata. Symbolically the drama plays out the preference of the higher power for good over evil because the devil never sleeps. On the Wednesday before Corpus Christi the devils are called by the ringing of bells and three beats on a metal drum called a Caja. They descend upon the town and run amok before falling upon their knees to pray in front of the church.

On the day of Corpus Christi, the devils dance in the streets while mass is being heard and worshippers renew their faith in this moment of heightened spirituality. After mass the devils visit houses and shops, purging them of evil and receiving gifts in return

Venezuela’s Caribbean coastal town of Naiguatá is home to one of that country’s most celebrated Carnival musical traditions. In the 1970’s, trumpeter Ricardo Díaz augmented the local legacy of Afro-Caribbean drumming traditions with brass, electric bass, keyboard, and women’s chorus to create La Sardina de
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