Venezuela Culture and Traditions
Customs and traditions
According to Abbreviationfinder, Venezuelans are often proud of their history and nation. The nation’s hero, General Simón Bolívar, stands statue in almost every city and is a unifying symbol. Since oil was found in the 1920s, a gigantic population migration to the cities has taken place, and most urban dwellers could long benefit from the nation’s wealth and the consequent modernization.
Visitors and guests are usually greeted by kindness and hospitality, which means that the residents do their best to make a new acquaintance. It is an advantage if the visitor shows interest in the country’s history and has some knowledge of Bolívar. On the other hand, the crisis situation that the country is in now makes politics a sensitive issue.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Venezuela, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
It is no coincidence that women from Venezuela have been the most successful in international beauty pageants. The residents are unusually fixed in terms of beauty ideal, clothing taste and how they appear – and this is something they are proud of. In recent years, national beauty pageants for men have also been held.
Greetings, punctuality and visits
On formal occasions you are greeted with a powerful handshake, and then direct eye contact and a smile are important elements. The first words spoken are buenos días, buenas tardes or buenas noches, depending on the time of day, and then you introduce yourself. If several persons are present, you should first visit the elders or elders.
Before anyone proposes to “remove the titles”, people should be addressed with the title and surname. When you are separated, you say goodbye to everyone in the company.
In less formal contexts, two cheek kisses are usually exchanged, even at a first meeting. However, between two men this does not happen, they shake hands.
As in other Latin countries, the speakers are close to each other and often touch the opposite party with their hand to emphasize something. However, it is considered insulting and vulgar to point with your finger.
A visiting European should take note of the typical Latin American concept of time. Punctuality is not a virtue and mañana does not have to mean “tomorrow” but can just as well stand for sometime in the future.
Arriving 15-30 minutes late for an agreed visit, even at home with private individuals. Anyone who arrives on time, or even earlier, is considered exceedingly eager and, in the case of a meal, even greedy. The attitude towards time is also such that it is often considered more important to end an ongoing discussion than to arrive on time to someone who is waiting somewhere.
Gifts, clothing and dinners
Anyone invited to dinner usually sends flowers in advance, usually orchids. If you have a present with you for dinner or other occasions, it is most correct to first take it out of the package. It also belongs to “good education” to send a written thank you card after dinner or the like.
Do not give handkerchiefs as gifts as they are considered to cause an accident. Never refuse a cup of coffee at an event, which means you reject the host’s hospitality.
Those who have been invited home to Venezuelans may have casual clothing, but preferably with some style or elegant detail.
Avoid acting as if you strongly identify with the US or North American values and preferably say nothing negative about Venezuela’s economy or politics unless asked, especially nothing negative about the national hero Bolívar.
Wait until the host assigns a seat at the table and do not start eating until everyone else has sat down and the host or hostess says buen provecho (tasty meal). For example, you do not hide any hand under the table during the meal, but do not place elbows on the table. Fruit is also eaten with a knife and fork. Do not taste the drink until the host has poured a first bowl. During breaks in eating, only the outermost parts of the cutlery should rest against the plate edge, and the person who has finished eating places both cutlery obliquely over the plate with the handles to the right. Anyone who wants to be polite has left some food on the plate.
Meeting culture and the business world
Anyone who is offered a meeting confirms in good time, via email or fax and preferably in Spanish, that he can attend. Avoid trying to arrange meetings for Friday afternoon or during the carnival and Easter season.
People at companies and organizations with international contacts usually hold agreed meeting times. The first meeting is formal and consists of discussions and exchanges of thought – but no decisions. Business cards, preferably with a page text in Spanish, were initially distributed to all. It is considered unfair to supplement someone’s card with notes on the card itself. Send a greeting after the meeting with a thank you to the meeting’s chairman or chief executive.
The business world is hierarchical, and decisions are made by the person with the highest authority.
In addition to the major Christian holidays as well as New Year and the first of May, the Virgin Mary or various saints are celebrated with parties and parades, often locally in a single city. An example is John the Baptist’s party (San Juan Bautista) as the participants dance to the rhythms of the drums in both Caracas and other parts of the country. When the new year begins, many people burn dolls of a natural size in the hope that the problems of the past year will disappear and that the new year will be better.
According to Countryaah, this year’s most appreciated holiday is the carnival which is held for three days before Easter week Ash Wednesday. Everyone who has the opportunity travels to the coastal cities or to the famous carnival in Trinidad.
Several of the foremost non-religious celebrations are celebrated on the occasion of the liberation from the colonial empire. On April 19, Venezuelans celebrate the start of the freedom struggle in 1810 and on July 5, called Independence Day, is commemorated by the fact that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1811. On June 24, an important battle was celebrated in 1821. On July 24, the hero of the freedom hero Simón Bolívar is celebrated.
On October 12, Colombia’s arrival across America is being noticed in various ways. In Venezuela, since 2002, the indigenous peoples’ celebrations have been celebrated on the Día de la resistencia indígena. Previously, the day was called Día de la raza. 2013 introduced a new holiday: Hugo Chávez Day on December 8.
Chávez is allowed to govern by decree
The outgoing National Assembly gives Chávez the right to govern by decree for 18 months, to more easily help victims of the fall floods which claimed 40 lives and made 140,000 people homeless (see also January 2007).
Government victory in parliamentary elections
In the election to the National Assembly, the ruling party receives PSUV and allies 46 percent of the vote, giving 98 seats, while the newly formed opposition alliance Collection for Democratic Unity (MUD) receives 48 percent of the vote and 65 seats.
Diplomatic relations with Colombia are broken
President Hugo Chávez announces that relations with Colombia have been broken since the neighboring country claimed that the left-wing guerrilla Farc has bases in Venezuela.
Violent protests against Chávez
The student movement is leading demonstrations against President Hugo Chávez, which was partially triggered by the closure of the RCTV Internacional TV channel. The protesters protest against lack of freedom of speech, widespread violence and the economic effects of a devaluation.