Santo Domingo, DR.
Devotees of Gaga, a cultural and religious tradition mixed with Catholicism and voodoo, flocked to various parts of the Dominican Republic this Friday, despite controversy over a city’s decision to ban the ritual. By blacks. Those who work in sugarcane plantations.
One of the most crowded processions, which started from Hado Meyer in the east of the country, saw its participants travel dozens of kilometers to celebrate the ceremony, where music, bright colors and alcohol go hand in hand.
Followers of the pilgrimage were joined by followers, meticulously observed by police officers, who forced ritual organizers to reject music when they went in front of an evangelical or Catholic church.
Rafael Emilio ‘El Brujo’, one of the leaders of this GAGA, in statements to Efe highlighted the importance of this festival for Dominican culture because it is “a tradition.”
What is Gaga and its celebration
Gaga celebrates Holy Week and includes a series of rituals with religious content, with music and dance composed of rare music brought by Haitian immigrants who worked in the sugar cane fields of eastern Dominican.
The ceremony begins with the raising of the chair on Holy Thursday night, a ritual that reaffirms the vows or vows of participants received from three to seven years.
After other ceremonies, tours begin outside the patio or neighborhood where the ceremonial tent is located, which return at midnight on Easter Sunday.
“It’s a devotion, it’s a part of our origin,” Emilio said, criticizing the recent move by authorities in the San Pedro de Magoris in the east, which has been restricted to rural areas and sugar mills known as Baties.
Controversy after the ban
The decision was made by the San Pedro de Majoris provincial council for security reasons because, as told by the city council to Efe, there are episodes of violence between participants and opposing Gagos.
Despite being part of the Dominican cultural diversity, cultural groups have for some time condemned the intent of the authorities to ban this activity.
Based on the decision taken at the San Pedro de Macorís, the Ministry of Culture called for the celebration of all tribal cultural events “regardless of social class or religious affiliation because it is the duty of every government to promote and preserve the culture of the people.”
In a statement, the portfolio said, “Gaga is a musical and dance expression, with a religious component, whose main celebration takes place during Holy Week and is protected by the country’s constitution.”