On Wednesday, the Venezuelan Embassy celebrated the Cross of May (Cruz de Mayo), a Venezuelan religious and 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 Lopinot Tourist Association and Lopinot Chocolate Factory, Father Julio Cesar Cuan, Kendal Baneo of the Lara Brothers parang group, and staff from the Venezuelan Embassy attended.
Sánchez Cordero said: “The May Cross is a cultural tradition of more than 150 years. In 2014 it was declared cultural heritage because it is one of the oldest traditions in Venezuela. It is a representation of faith in which the people of Venezuela come together in a spirit of optimism for the coming winter and hope for a good harvest.”
He also celebrates in gratitude for the blessings and good harvests of the previous winter season. The Feast of the Cross of May is usually celebrated on May 3.
“It’s a way for community and 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 in tribute to the fight against slavery that Africans heroically waged against Spanish colonization.
The May Cross celebration is most deeply rooted on the Venezuelan coast, where the largest number of Afro-Venezuelans live.
Sánchez Cordero thanked the Lopinot Association for their support. The association was responsible for organizing the event.
Traditionally, the cross is made of wood, placed in a high and visible place, painted blue or brown, decorated with colored paper and adorned with flowers, such as roses, jasmine, pansies and carnations.
After the Ambassador’s speech, Father Cuan blessed the May Cross.
“I am happy to see three crosses which revive the tradition of Jesus on Calvary 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 heaven,” Cuan commented.
Mora recalled the ties between the Lopinot family and Venezuela, since the arrival of the first Venezuelans to work in their cocoa factory.
She said that in Lopinot the May Cross is also celebrated every year, with grace, culture and traditions.
“We have our harvests and that’s what we put at the foot of the May Cross, to give thanks. We are happy to be here today to celebrate the May Cross with the Venezuelan Embassy,” said Mora said.
After the words of welcome, those present made offerings of fruit.
Sánchez Cordero said these cultural activities will continue to be important for the Venezuelan Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago.
He said that the entire embassy team is involved in recognizing and celebrating every important date in the traditions of his country.