Gagá Festivities Stopped by Police in the Dominican Republic

Repeating Islands

Police stopped hundreds of Haitian nationals and Dominicans from performing ritual dances related to Gagá* on the streets of El Seibo during Holy Week (last week). The group—decked with clothes, drinks, and dances that are part of this religious ritual event—were blocked when trying to move along the neighborhoods of the city, because Mayor Gerardo Casanova refused to authorize permits for this cultural event. Participants were dispersed by police agents.

Prior to Holy Week, representatives from various churches—priests, ministers, and pastors—asked the authorities not to allow the Gagá celebrations, which, they say, “promote activities of the Vodoun religion practiced by the Haitians.” For several years, a number of religious representatives have been requesting a stop to Gagá festivities, which, they believe, interfere and are contrary to Christian tradition. [In my opinion, if this were the case, Carnival celebrations world-wide would have to be eliminated.] Meanwhile, a religious activity that took…

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