An Aruban Tradition, Dera Gai, celebrating the Feast of Saint John was presented to visitors at Caribbean Palm Village Resort this week, as part of the weekly Manager’s Cocktail Party.
Every year on June 24, the nativity of St. John the Baptist, bonfires are lit all across the Island to herald the arrival of a unique folkloric festival known as Dera Gai. Dera Gai is filled with both pagan and Catholic symbolism, reflecting the in
fluences of the island’s indigenous Arawak natives and the Spanish missionaries, two cultures blending and fusing in cultural heritage.
During traditional celebrations of this festival, blindfolded revelers were given three tries, using a long pole, to decapitate a rooster buried up to its neck in the ground. At community centers today, a more humane approach to the ritual is taken in the form of a game wherein blindfolded players try to locate a flag staked into the ground while shimmying to music. Decked out in traditional yellow-and-red costumes, folk groups also perform several harvest dances and the guests at Caribbean Palm Village Resort were privileged to see the charming cultural tradition in action.
The resort often includes folkloric and cultural shows in its weekly Manager’s Cocktail Party allowing guests insight into island life, song and dance.
Our pictures attest to the success of the cross-cultural and interactive encounter.