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The Nazarene of San Pablo: An Annual Caracas Event

CCS, Caracus

Every year in the Venezuelan city destination of Caracas, hundreds of worshippers descend to help celebrate the Nazarene of San Pablo, a religious festival which takes place in April. The event is held in the Santa Teresa Basilica but actually occupies the whole of the city due to the annual procession which marches through the streets of Caracas on the way to the basilica destination. This procession is similar in some ways to the ones that take place all across Catholic Latin America during Semana Santa. In Caracas, however, there is a local twist to the proceedings. Devotees of the festival traditionally garb themselves in purple, a colour considered to be both royal and holy.

The sight of hundreds of people wearing purple for a worship ceremony is not one to be found everywhere. The traditions surrounding this festival dictate that believers march along with the cross through the streets during the procession. This is to show devotion to Jesus, who is recorded to have carried a cross in the Gospels of Mark, John, Luke, and Matthew.

In addition to the procession, the worshippers attend a mass at the basilica and offer orchids to the statue of Jesus that is usually displayed under an arch of similar flowers. The procession takes place at sundown on Holy Wednesday, an ideal time because tourists arriving on flights to Caracas will have enough time to clear customs and settle in at their hotels before proceeding to the festival to witness these important ceremonies.