The Velorio de Cruz de Mayo (The May Cross) is a cultural-religious manifestation of Venezuelan tradition.
The celebration and festivities that have developed in its honour are meant to pay tribute to Nature – to mark the start of the harvest season in May.
The celebrations involve making a May Cross from wood which is then painted blue and decorated extravagantly with colourful paper and/or flowers.
The festivities that surround the celebration are filled with music, featuring instruments typical to the various regions of Venezuela, and the distribution of food and drinks.
This celebration of The Velorio de la Cruz de Mayo (The May Cross) was brought home to Vincentians in a concrete manner, when the Embassy of the Republic of Venezuela, through the Venezuela Institute for Culture and Cooperation, hosted a celebration on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
The event, held at the Embassy of the Republic of Venezuela, Kingstown, involved the active participation of more than 50 Vincentian students.
Francisco Pérez Santana, Head of the Venezuelan Mission here, addressed the gathering. He highlighted the significance of the celebration and said that the objective of the May 9 event was ‘to promote and encourage Vincentian students of the Venezuelan Institute to know the culture and identity of Venezuela’.
Leading up to the day’s event, Vincentian students, who had been involved in a Workshop which sensitised them about the Velorio de la Cruz de Mayo (the May Cross), prepared the May Cross in different ways, adorning them with artificial flowers and natural country flowers among other decorative material, for display at the event here.
In addition, the students rendered decimas (ten line verses put to music), recited verses in the Spanish, played the cuatro, drum and maracas, and performed a song by Venezuelan Lilia Vera, in honour of the May Cross, accompanied by the Resistance HeartBeat Drummers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
At the end of the celebration, those who had gathered for the occasion shared the fruits and drinks, including Venezuelan arepas (corn patties) and SVG callaloo soup, which earlier, had been offered to the Cross.
The May Cross was officially declared part of the Cultural Heritage of Venezuela in 2014.