BookIsh Plaza @ Dera Gay 2014

14 05 2014

Drea Gay 2014
Bookish Plaza will be with Caribbean books this coming July 5th at one of Aruban cultural festivities Dia di San Juan (St. John’s Day) where there is this tradition of Dera Gay. Nowadays the acts are more symbolically. These festivities are not only celebrated on the island, but with a growing community of Arubans in Holland we also celebrate it here. 

Background tradition
One of the unique festivities of Aruba is the celebration of San Juan on June 24th. Dera Gay, means bury the rooster. This is the most important dance where a life rooster is buried leaving only its head above the ground. A man is then selected from the crowd and is blindfolded. He is then asked to kill the rooster by hitting its head very hard with a stick. The tradition to bury a living rooster was very common in those days. Nowadays it is obviously unthinkable to do such a thing. Over the years, this has been replaced with a calabash gourd, and nowadays a synthetic rooster is placed above the ground.

The man is then spinned around so that he is disoriented and no longer knows the exact location of the rooster. Then with a corn stick, he has to hit the rooster’s head. He has 3 chances, and if he misses another man is given the opportunity. An experienced dancer is guided by the wind and uses his foot to feel the ground in search of the rooster, because as a rule you are not to feel the ground with the stick.

This celebration has originated among the early Indians, centuries ago on the South part of Mexico and came down to Guatemala. It really started as a rural rounding of one harvest and the beginning of a new one. The Indians, who live close to nature, were extremely afraid of the unknown and of course of the gods. That’s why when the harvest was over they would clean the fields and the remainder of the harvest were burned. There was no better means of purification than fire but at the same time, they would make offerings to the god of fire. Of course, they were also thanking the other gods that were involved in helping with the needed rain and sun. Thanking also for the generous harvest and using the chance to ask for more in the coming year. Therefore, they had fire on the last day of the harvest year and celebrated the new harvest year with festivities. On the eve of this new harvest year, while the fire soars high in the sky the men would jump over these bonfires. Making a bet and challenging is done with rounds of foods and drinks.

Along with the Dera Gay dances, singing contests and jumping over fires. Other festivities goes on, there are typical dances, story telling for the kids and telling jokes, all this is done around the fire. Every town has its own festivity and dominant colors would be the colors of fire mainly yellow and red. Some hotels, restaurant and malls may have a special day honoring this event with dances and special local delicacies, but you can also venture into town, may it be Tanki Leendert, Playa Pabou, Savaneta or Santa Cruz, you are welcome to celebrate this cultural event with the locals.

 

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: