The traditional Venezuelan festival was added to the Intangible Heritage list during the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage this week. According to UNESCO, the list “serves to raise awareness of intangible heritage and provide recognition to communities’ traditions and know-how that reflect their cultural diversity”. 10 other cultural “elements” from all over the world; ranging from ger (moveable Mongolian house) craftsmanship to Turkish coffee culture were also recognised during the meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.
President of Venezuela’s Center for Cultural Diversity Benito Irady stated that the recognition of the Parranda de San Pedro is “a tribute to the popular creative expression of Venezuela and Latin America.
“We are experiencing a great moment in the history of the country,” Irady told the press from Baku.
This is the second Venezuelan festival recognised by UNESCO, after the country’s Dancing Devils were added to the same list last year.
Celebrated annually on 29 June in Guarenas and Guatire, the Parranda involves a series of rituals including a midnight mass during which images of San Pedro are paraded through the towns. A re-enactment of the story of the healing of a slave by the saint is also carried out, traditional meals are cooked and local churches colourfully decorated.
It’s a festival of music, dance and drama.