Fun and festivities in Dominican Republic - celebrations, festivals and cultural events
The population of the Dominican Republic is multinational and multifaceted. Every Dominican community necessarily has its own festival dedicated to the patron saints. However, most national religious events combine Catholic traditions with African voodoo culture. A festival in the northern city of Puerto Plata is held in October. Here, during the magnificent carnival with dancing, fairs, and African traditions, music is performed by the best merengue, jazz, and blues musicians.
The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. Most of the population are Catholics, the national constitution guarantees freedom of … Read further
On Christmas and New Year's Day, Dominicans decorate their houses with spruce trees and sparkling garlands. According to the Catholic tradition, Christmas is celebrated on December 24-25. December 24 - family dinner day, 25 - Christmas, 31 - New Year's Eve. December is a sacred month for Dominicans. Shop windows are glowing festively in all cities. Christmas songs play on the radio, especially "Juanita volvió" - a traditional Christmas song about a Dominican girl coming back to her native country from the United States every Christmas. People sing songs in the streets from dawn to dusk, then go home to join the whole family and friends at a rich table, eat fried chicken, fruit and pie, drink hot chocolate and rum, and enjoy the sunrise in the morning. Santa Claus is also revered here, children write letters to him, but this tradition disappears gradually.
A day commemorating "Our Lady of Altagracia", the patroness of the Dominican Republic, is celebrated on January 21. On this day, many believers go to a basilica located in Higuay. This basilica keeps a 15th-century portrait of the Virgin. Altagracia Day is a very important holiday for all faithful Dominicans. After the service, festivities begin all over the republic. January 26 marks Juan Pablo Duarte Day dedicated to the fighter for the independence of the Dominican Republic in the early 19th century. Dominicans lay flowers at the grave of the famous hero in Santo Domingo, organize military marches and festivities. The most vivid celebrations take place in Duarte Park where the brave fighter's monument stands. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
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The famous eagerly awaited Dominican Carnival takes the whole month of February. These are endless parades of brightly dressed dancers, incendiary musical performances, crowds of people on the streets. The Carnival culminates on February 27, when the official Dominican Republic Independence Day is celebrated. Every city celebrates the Carnival and Independence Day with its own special color. On this occasion, in Santo Domingo, there is a parade striking in its scale and colorfulness.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) is celebrated in early April. These days, when church services are held, the Dominican Republic becomes unusually quiet and calm. In June, the Dominican Republic dances and sings again - it's time for Espiritu Santo. It is a holiday honoring African heritage when drums are pounding and African people rituals are held. Dominicans wear masks and ornaments, paint their bodies and faces with bright colors. That's how this fertility holiday was celebrated by indigenous inhabitants of these lands. With the advent of the colonialists, their black slaves brought the spirit of Africa to the festivities. Rituals of Indians, Africans, and Spanish Catholics blended together, having created gorgeous, authentic traditions. In Santo Domingo, this mixture of cultures is celebrated since the middle of the 16th century.
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At the end of July, there is the Merengue Festival with fairs and the best dancers and musicians of the country. And on August 16 Dominicans celebrate another Independence Day - this time from Spain. On this day, beautiful costumes are put on and noisy parades are held. Every year, a large-scale international music festival takes place in the capital of the Dominican Republic at Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez stadium. Since 1995, local and foreign musicians participate in "Festival Presidente". The most famous of them are Ricky Martin, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Bruno Mars.
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