Dominican Republic festivals and Holidays
New Year’s Day
The festivities of New Year are celebrated through music, dance and a number of good luck rituals. Carnivals and parades mark the New Year celebration with masked parties held across the country.
It is important to clean the entire house before New Year's Day, although all brooms and brushes and should be put away before the clock strikes midnight as locals believe that good things along with dirty things can be swept away. On the stroke of midnight, it's traditional to leave doors and windows open to allow the old spirits to move out unimpeded; it is also traditional to eat one grape every toll of the bell and make a New Year wish.
On New Year’s Day itself, red clothes are believed to ensure a bright future, yellow clothes help with promotions at work, green clothes are believed to enhance financial status, while white clothes bring good health.
Independence Day is on 27 February and is marked with a public holiday. It is a time to remember the sacrifices made by many for Dominican freedom. Families often get together for dinner and drinks on this day.
The Dominican Carnival is a true explosion of colour, fun and entertainment. Parades are held across the country and are a show of cultural identity, conjuring up much excitement. The origin of Carnival in the Dominican Republic is closely linked with the country’s history. Carnival is held throughout the country, with each region celebrating in their own unique way. What is consistent throughout is fun, colour, costumes, music and dancing.
Kite-flying events are held throughout the country to mark Easter. Families can be seen every weekend in April out in parks flying their kites and spending quality time together. It is a time to put petty feuds aside and appreciate the importance of your family.
Merengue is the spicy Latin music that comes naturally to every native Dominican. Each year, Santo Domingo beats to the rhythms of merengue as the country's top bands take to the city's main seaside promenade, El Malecon. Music is the main component of the Merengue Festival. Apart from live bands, you will also find DJs on every corner and beer tents with their own sound systems.
Puerto Plata Cultural festival
This festival is celebrated in the third week in June and includes diverse demonstrations of Dominican culture such as concerts; dance performances; folk music presentations; merengue, salsa, blues and jazz performances; and theatre shows. There are also arts and crafts exhibitions found near to Central Park.