The people of Africa who were brought across the Atlantic ocean to work on the sugar and coffee plantations of Dominica from the early 1700’s up until 1807 came from West Africa. It is no wonder with this past that the beliefs of the occult have strong ties on this beautiful island. Currently, the majority of the people of the Dominican Republic claim to be Christian, with over 90% of those claiming Roman Catholicism as their religion.
Dominican Catholicism is an eclectic mix of Roman Catholic traditions and African-rooted religions/ceremonies,or Santeria, and is widespread in the Dominican Republic. But deep in the roots of these islanders lies ties to
Animism. This was original religion brought to Dominica and is the belief that there are many spirits inhabiting the world, which bring good or evil and are associated with the ancestors such as ancestor spirits. This remains
in some form in the obeah, but even in the adaptation to Christianity there is still a great reverence for the dead and the ancestors in the importance of funerals, wakes “nine night” and the annual Fete La Toussaint, to remember
the souls of the dead.
Some still practiced in the different forms of voodoo that survive in Haiti and in the shango of Trinidad and pocomania of Jamaica. Voodoo, for instance originated from Dahomey, based on the worship of the good, poisonless
serpent spirit, Dangbay. The priest or voodun communicates with this spirit and makes Dangbays will known to others.Dances such as the Kalenda, Chica and Voodoo are part of these religious rites where spirit possession accompanied by intense drumming and chants creates this type of worship.
One can imagine with the influx of Christianity that the occult practices of the past are now commingled with the Roman Catholicism that as stated above converted 90% of the island inhabitants. Transformation has taken place over time and voodoo has been exported with the Haitian Diaspora to other cities in North America.
In the tourist enclaves, voodoo ceremonies are presented as floor shows and as such have been stripped of all of their original meaning. However, in the
private circles of those who still practice the old ways the roots of African Occult is still alive and well.
Voice Lab 9