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The Cultural Space of the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit of the Congos of Villa Mella

Dominican Republic

The Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit represents communities and individuals of mixed descent who believe in the Holy Spirit, which they associate with percussion instruments. Their traditions have Spanish Roots, but were adapted by the slave population in the colonial period. Family ties, paternal and maternal, determine membership and position within the fraternity.  Its members conduct the Celebration of the Holy Spirit and festivities of the Virgin of Rosario. They play the music of 21 traditional songs during burial and veneration rites. The rituals and celebrations of the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit are attended by thousands of people.

Threats: Dramatic social, cultural and economic changes endanger the heritage of the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit.

Action plan: An inventory of the communities and individuals carrying on the traditions is planned. A community centre will feature handicrafts, a museum, archives and libraries, as well as educational and promotional programmes. Some of the traditions will be introduced in school curricula and festivals will be organized.