Aruba celebrates St. John the Baptist (Bury the rooster Dera Gay) day

The cultural celebration of St. John the Baptist (San Huan) popularly known as Dera Gay (Bury the Rooster) dates from 1862 and is greatly celebrated every year on June 24.

Both the government and private cultural organizations make the necessary preparations for the cultural festival on June 24, the day of John the Baptist and the burial of the rooster. There are several stories about the origin of this religious and cultural festival.
The religious origins may have to do with the birth of John the Baptist. The cultural origin refers to the harvest festival. However, Dera Gay is known more as a cultural festival with music, dance, singing and the like. The predominant colors being used are yellow and red: Yellow symbolizes the Kibrahacha tree that is in full bloom in June and red as a symbol of the fire that is lighted everywhere on the eve of St. John Day (to announce the festivities the next day).

The tradition dictates that on the day before the Dia di San Huan, so on June 23, farmers will burn remnants of corn sticks to begin then with a new planting and harvesting period. The burning also symbolizes the cleansing that must first take place before you can start again.

The festivity takes place on June 24 and begins at sundown and consists of several components, including a jump dance over burning wood to ward off and/or overcome illnesses and accidents.
The famous dance entails that each blindfolded participant gets a turn to kill the rooster with a stick. For ethical reasons currently no live rooster is used but a fake cock or a calabash.There is also a flag dance. Several flags are put in the ground and a blindfolded participant must find the flags. The ceremony is accompanied by folk songs and music. The musical instruments that predominate are: violin, wiri and tambu. The song that is sung dates from 1862. The festival also involves a lot of eating and drinking.

The festivity itself has enjoyed since the seventies again much popularity among locals and also in the schools attention is paid to this cultural event.

Below you will find the activities calendar for celebration of St. John the Baptist:

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