On Wednesday the Venezuelan embassy celebrated the May Cross (Cruz de Mayo), a Venezuelan religious-cultural tradition with more than 150 years of history.
Venezuelan ambassador Álvaro Sánchez Cordero led the celebrations at the embassy on Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain. He was accompanied by his wife Mónica Rey.
Donna Mora, founder of the Tourist Association of Lopinot and the Chocolate Company of Lopinot, Fr Julio Cesar Cuan, Kendal Baneo from the Lara Brothers parang band and staff from the Venezuelan embassy took part.
Sánchez Cordero said: “The May Cross is a cultural tradition of more than 150 years. In 2014 it was declared Cultural Heritage for being one of the oldest traditions in Venezuela. It is a representation of faith in which the Venezuelan people gather in a spirit of optimism in the face of the winter to come and in the hope of a good harvest."
It also celebrates in gratitude for the blessings and good harvests of the previous winter season. The festival of the May Cross is usually celebrated on May 3.
"It's a way for the community and the family to come together and love each other above all else," Sánchez Cordero said.
He recalled that May 10 is commemorated as Afro-Venezuelan Day in Venezuela as a tribute to the fight against slavery that Africans heroically waged against Spanish colonisation.
The celebration of the May Cross is more deeply rooted on the Venezuelan coast, where the largest number of Afro-Venezuelans live.
Sánchez Cordero thanked the Lopinot Association for its support. The association was in charge of arranging the event.
Traditionally the cross is made of wood, placed in a high and visible spot, painted blue or brown, decorated with coloured paper and adorned with flowers, such as roses, jasmine, pansies and carnations.
After the ambassador spoke, Fr Cuan blessed the May Cross.
"I am glad to see three crosses that revive the tradition of Jesus on Calvary together with two criminals. We remember when in the scene on the cross one of the thieves asked Jesus to remember him when he was in paradise," Cuan commented.
Mora recalled the links between the Lopinot family and Venezuela, since the first Venezuelans arrived to work in their cocoa factory.
She said in Lopinot they celebrate the May Cross every year too, with grace, culture and traditions.
"We have our crops and it is what we put at the foot of the May Cross, to give thanks for it. We are happy to be here today celebrating the May Cross with the Venezuelan embassy," said Mora.
After the words of welcome, those present made offerings of fruit.
Sánchez Cordero said such cultural activities will continue to be important for the Venezuelan embassy in Trinidad and Tobago.
He said the entire team at the embassy is involved in recognising and celebrating each important date in the traditions of his country.