History of Merengue in the Dominican Republic
Merengue is a type of dance that originated from the Dominican Republic. It is considered as the national dance of the Dominican Republic. However, a lot of opinions regarding the history of merengue in the Dominican Republic have come up. The accurate history of merengue in the Dominican Republic is very much blurry.
One version of the history of merengue in the Dominican Republic is that merengue may be connected with the Haitian dance called “meringue” or “mereng”. The mereng of Haiti (meringue if spoken in French) is one of the national icons of Haiti and is said to have originated by the slaves of Haiti in the early times. Merengue and mereng are very much alike. The only difference is that the merengue is dictated by the accordion while the mereng sound is based on guitar.
There are two prominent versions of the history of merengue in the Dominican Republic. The first version of the history of merengue in the Dominican Republic is that the said Dominican Republic dance stemmed from the slaves. The slaves were chained together. This forced the slaves to drag one of their legs while they cut sugar with the rhythm of the pounding of the drums. This version of the history of merengue in the Dominican Republic is similar to the version of the mereng in Haiti.
In the second version of the history of merengue in the Dominican Republic, it is said that the dance originated from a great hero of the revolution of the Dominican Republic. This hero is said to have been wounded on one of the battles of the revolution in the Dominican Republic history. The wound caused the hero to be crippled on one leg. When a group of people welcomed him home to his village, they gave him a victory festivity. It is known throughout his village that the great hero has a passion for dancing; but when he danced, one leg was dragging. Because of their great respect for this hero, everyone who was dancing copied his dance step, hence, the birth of merengue.
However, the only drawback with the second version of the history of merengue in the Dominican Republic is that, no one is certain which revolution did the hero fought and the identity of this great and respected hero. Because of the so called “revolution” that was mentioned in this version was the slave revolt; then the dance originated in Haiti. And if the said revolution was the revolt of Spanish emigries in opposition to the Haitians, then merengue could either originate from Dominican Republic or from Haiti. The latter depends on which side narrates the story.
The history of merengue in the Dominican Republic until now is disputed. No matter how blurry the origins may be, one thing is for sure, merengue is very much popular these days because it is a lively and joyful dance.