7 junio, 2024

10 characteristics of the Venezuelan family

The Venezuelan family characteristics they are based on certain cultural aspects that distinguish it from other societies. The family is the nucleus of a society and constitutes an essential element in the formation of citizens, since it is the first contact that an individual has with the community.

Likewise, it is within the family nucleus where an individual learns to communicate and interact, while acquiring ethical and moral values ​​that will later be reinforced. The axis of Venezuelan societies does not reside in marriage alliances, nor in commercial practices, nor in religious ideology, but in the family.

In Venezuela, families do not differ much from the general characteristics observed elsewhere. However, Venezuelan families present some additional aspects that are directly related to the culture of this country.

Various authors have dedicated themselves to the study of the Venezuelan family structure. For example, José Vethencourt, who considers that the system of organization of families in Venezuela is atypical because it does not follow the «pre-established» norms.

List of characteristics of Venezuelan families

1. Free associations

According to the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, families are free associations that make up a society and are the nucleus in which the development of Venezuelans begins, since it is the first contact between an individual and society.

Likewise, the Constitution indicates that family relations are based on equality of rights and duties, solidarity, common effort, mutual understanding and mutual respect among the members that make it up.

Marriage, understood as a legal process (de jure) is protected by Venezuelan law. Likewise, concubinage, understood as a consensus between a man and a woman (de facto) that complies with the provisions of the law, is considered for all purposes as any other marriage.

2. Relationship by consanguinity or affinity

The Civil Code of Venezuela establishes that the members are united by ties of kinship, which can be by consanguinity or by affinity. Kinship by consanguinity refers to blood ties, while kinship by affinity refers to legal ties (marriage, for example).

In the same way, the Civil Code establishes that a spouse and the blood relatives of the other are family (by affinity) and this bond remains even after the divorce. On the other hand, the adopted members of a family are considered as consanguineous members before the law.

3. Union

In Venezuela, most of the population lives in nuclear families, that is, parents and children live in a house. However, the other members of the family, grandparents, uncles and cousins, live nearby or visit each other constantly.

In the same way, when migrations occur that force the members of a family to separate, they usually keep in touch through alternate routes.

In this sense, the members of a family are not only united with the other members of the nucleus, but also have stable relationships with the members of their extended family.

4. Support

Young Venezuelans live with their parents until they have graduated from university or until they are able to support themselves. Even after they have left the parental home, the children continue to be supported by their parents.

In part, this situation is due to the economic crisis, which does not allow the early emancipation of young people.

5. The role of mothers

Despite the fact that Venezuelan society is based on a patriarchal model (which favors the figure of men), women are in charge of family affairs. In general, Venezuelan mothers manage the household income.

Mothers are figures of stability within the Venezuelan family and, in the same way, they are the ones who make the most important decisions.

Some families more deeply rooted in traditional values ​​prefer the man to work, while the woman is in charge of housework and caring for the children.

However, due to the influence of Western societies and women’s liberation movements, as well as family earning capacity, most mothers enter the workforce on the same basis as men.

The figure of Venezuelan mothers has been studied by various authors, such as Peattie, Pollak-Eltz and José Vethencourt.

The latter points out that Venezuelan families are atypical because they are based on a matricentric system (in which mothers are at the head of the family).

On the other hand, in Venezuela there is a large number of single-parent families, where the woman is the head of the family (due to parental abandonment, widowhood, divorce, etc.).

6. The role of grandmothers

At the Congress on Family and Marriage in the Caribbean and Central America, whose main theme was matricentrism in Latin America, it was concluded that the matricentric system was insufficient to express the reality of Venezuela. Since in this country not only the mother is a prominent figure, but also the grandmother.

If possible, it is usually the grandmothers who care for the children, acting as governesses to the grandchildren. The figure of the grandmother is relevant to most Venezuelans because she represents a second mother.

7. Less rigid relationships between parents and children

The Venezuelan family, like any other, is based on relationships of respect. However, the relationship between parents and children is not as rigid as in other societies.

For example, it is common to hear children address their parents as «you»: the exception is the Andean zone of Venezuela (in the west of the country), a region in which the pronoun «you» is used even when speaking with a friend.

8. Celebrating is paramount

The word «fiestera» is a good term to define Venezuelan families, since any event can become a reason for celebration. Venezuelans can have a party to watch a baseball game or the World Cup.

In the same way, parties are organized when a new member of the family is going to be born and after religious celebrations (such as baptism, first communion and confirmation).

Likewise, in Venezuela, and in Latin America in general, the practice of 15-year-old parties (which in the past was intended to introduce young women to society) is preserved.

9. Christmas is one of the most commemorated holidays

Despite the fact that almost 90% of the Venezuelan population is Catholic, a large part of it is non-practicing, which means that they do not actively participate in the life of the Church.

However, most Venezuelan families celebrate Christmas, a Catholic tradition, and even attend the “misas de aguinaldos” or “misas de gallo”, Catholic services that begin on December 16.

In December, Venezuelans gather to prepare hallacas, a typical Christmas dish, thus showing the cooperation between family members.

10. Beyond kinship

As already seen, legally, Venezuelan families are united by kinship ties.

However, Venezuelans tend to consider other outside individuals as part of their family. For example: “compadres” and “comadres”, respectively godfathers and godmothers of a person’s child, are considered relatives despite not sharing ties of affinity or consanguinity.

Similarly, close friends can be considered siblings, while parents’ friends can be seen as uncles. In this regard, Venezuelan families are very inclusive.


People of Venezuela. Recovered from republica-de-venezuela.com.
Familia. Retrieved from encyclopedias.families.com.
Venezuela-Family, Society, and Culture. Retrieved from family.jrank.org.

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