Maracaibo Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela)




Maracaibo festivals closely follow those throughout Latin America, meaning that they are mainly religious events taking in Catholic holidays and sun cycles. There are many things to do for tourists, though, even if they are not religiously inclined.

The biggest events are, naturally, Easter and Christmas, while both sides of New Year are celebrated with gusto. Venezuela also has an Independence Day in July, while the fun Feria de la Chinita is a huge festival in Maracaibo and held all over Zulia state during mid-November, marking the arrival of the seasonal Yuletide celebrations with the illumination of the Avenida Bella Vista.


Maracaibo Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015



January


  • New Year's Day - January 1st, a public holiday in Venezuela, this a fun day of parades and feasts, designed to usher in the New Year
  • Day of Epiphany (Dia de Reyes) - January 6th, a public holiday, when families get together and share gifts
  • Paradura del Nino - early January, celebrated in the cool city of Merida (just under three hours to the south), with the day of Epiphany and the end of the 12 days of Christmas

February


  • Carnival (Carnaval) - featuring several days of celebrations and parades up and down Venezuela, including enjoyable processions around central Maracaibo. These carnival festivities always include live music, traditional folk dancing and colourful costumes

March


  • Semana Santa - the day of Jesus's crucifixion is a big event at the cathedral and basilica in Maracaibo, although many use it simply as an excuse to hit the lake's beaches. Holy Week celebrates the venerable days of Easter (Pascua), going between Palm Sunday and Easter, with churches and beaches busy at this time
  • Saint Joseph's Day (Dia de San José), March 19th, a public holiday in Venezuela

April


  • Beginning of the Independence Movement (Diez y Nueve de Abril / Declaracion de Independencia) - April 19th, a public holiday remembering this day in 1810, when the First Republic of Venezuela officially began its struggle for independence

May


  • Labour Day (Dia del Trabajador) - May 1st, a public holiday in Venezuela, when parks and plazas around the city play host to holidaying natives
  • Day of the Holy Cross - La Cruz de Mayo features traditional dance and songs, along with food and drink. This is always a fun open-air event
  • San Isidro - May 15th, celebrated in both Maracaibo and Merida, with traditional dancing and costumed entertainment at Bolivar Square

June


  • Feast of John the Baptist - June 24th, honours Saint John the Baptist in this city and elsewhere in Venezuela. Visitors can expect plenty of feasting and purification rituals galore

July


  • Independence Day - July 5th, Venezuela celebrates its independence from Spain. This day involves lots of flag waving, parades and parties in the main squares, parks and avenues of the city
  • Bolivar's Birthday (Cumpleanos de Bolivar) - July 24th, a national holiday paying tribute to the country's most famous leader, Simon Bolivar, who is held in a saint-like regard

August


  • Flag Day (Dia de la Bandera) - August 3rd, an all-important day (and public holiday) for many Venezuelans, when flags are waved and flown all over the city and beyond

September


  • Fiesta de La Virgen de Coromoto - September 8th, another of the city's numerous religious festivals, this time celebrated in Guanare, to the far east. The fiesta involves a tribute to the Virgin Mary, with beautiful processions and entertainment

October


  • Virgen del Rosario - October 5th, a unique and important event in Maracaibo to honour the Virgen del Rosario at the basilica, one of the city's main landmarks
  • Day of Indigenous Resistance (Dia de la Resistencia Indigena) - October 12th, previously Christopher Columbus Day, this day marks the arrival of the Spanish to the Americas after Christopher Columbus landed in 1492

November


  • All Saint's Day - November 1st, a national holiday in Venezuela, also known as the Day of the Dead (Dia de Todos los Santos)
  • Feria de la Chinita - mid-November, with a week of celebrations in the city and all over Zulia state, to commemorate the Virgin of Chiquinquira and her miracle. This is a massive event and as well as its religious parties, you can also expect lots of rodeos with bulls (toros coleados), street processions, live music and more. Towards the end of the Feria de la Chinita's festivities, crowds gather at the basilica for the 'Serenata Para la Virgen'

December


  • Feast of San Benito - the black patron saint is honoured during Christmas week around Lake Maracaibo, with music and feasting. The drinking of rum is obligatory
  • Christmas (Navidad) - December 25th, a fun time to be in this city and in Venezuela in general, with parties galore and big masses at the cathedral







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