DANCING DEVILS OF YARE / LOS DIABLOS DE YARE
Photography by Aaron Sosa
Yare, Mirana State - Venezuela 2009.
(Copyright © Aaron Sosa)
The Dancing Devils of Yare is a religious festival held in the town of San Francisco de Yare in Miranda State, Venezuela.
Every Corpus Christi, or 60 days after Easter, men from Yare dress in red robes, capes and masks of grotesque demons and dance in the streets to the rhythm of drumbeats and maracas. They adorn their costumes with scapulars, rosaries, crosses and other religious objects.
After dancing the devils congregate at the historical San Francisco Catholic church and kneel in silence before being blessed by a priest. The kneeling symbolizes respect and their religious promise to end their evil ways. After being blessed, dancing and music continue as the devils go in a large procession to visit the homes of the deceased throughout their town. The celebration lasts until the end of the afternoon, when church bells are sounded and brotherhood spreads, signifying the triumph of good over evil for one more year.
The festival's origins date back to the eighteenth century, and being allowed to participate is considered a tremendous honor. The fraternity of men associated with the festival is celebrated as the oldest brotherhood still practicing its traditions, on the entire American continent. Their masks differentiate their place in the fraternity's hierarchy, and it is not uncommon to find men who have danced annually as devils for more than twenty or thirty years.