Holidays In Dominican Republic – Live Music, Festivities, Joyous Parades

Holidays in the Dominican Republic are as varied and as colorful as the country’s history. Most revolve around religion and are celebrated with live music, festivities, and joyous parades.

January
The Dominicans kick off their year on the first day of January, like most countries around the world. They are no exception to the festivities associated with the celebrations of the coming of the New Year. What is distinct among Dominicans though is their belief that the coming of the New Year should be celebrated with new things while discarding the old.

Houses are cleaned and dusted in the days preceding the New Year. Windows and doors are also open wide, as if to invite good things to enter the homes. New brooms are also bought to replace the old ones. These are placed outside the house for the rest of the midnight and are brought inside only the next morning. In many areas in the country, the Cocolo Festival is held by street dancers and performers.

On the 6th of January, the feast of the Three Kings is celebrated. This is followed by Dominican Republic’s most important religious holiday, the feast of Our Lady of Altagracia on the 21st of January. The month is ended with celebrations that honor the birthday of the man considered the architect of the country – Juan Pablo Duarte y D’ez on the Duarte Day.

February
The highlight of the Dominican Republic holidays falls on the second month of the year. It is called the ‘Carnival’, a celebration whose history dates as far back as 1867.

Carnival is celebrated throughout the month, on all Sundays, and climaxes on the 27th of February, with the Dominican Republic Independence Day. Every town in the country add their own twist to the holiday and everyone, local and tourists alike, are invited, in fact expected, to join the grand parades, street dances, and activities in most towns.

March to April
After the festivities of the preceding month, the Dominicans prepare for the holiest week of all. During this month, ‘Semana Santa’ or Holy Week is celebrated starting on the Easter Sunday and ending with the Black Saturday. Christian celebrations, however, coincide with the voodoo celebrations typical of the areas where Haitian migrants live and near the country’s borders.

May
The fifth month of the year begins with a holiday, the Labor Day. The Dominicans living in the San Felipe de Puerto Plata then celebrate the feast of San Felipe on the 3rd day of the month. The month is then ended with the feast in honor of San Fernando, the local Parton Saint of Monte Cristi.

June
June is marked by various celebrations in honor of the Parton Saints of different towns in the Dominican Republic. People living in San Pedro de Macoris celebrate the San Pedro Apostle de festival. On June 10, the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated in most towns. On the 13th of June, a religious festival held in honor of San Juan Batista is celebrated alongside the Fiesta Patronal of Sosua and Bonao, the feast of San Antonio.

On the first week of the month, Puerto Plata Cultural Festival is celebrated and on any date of the month, the three-day long Latin music festival kicks off in the Santo Domingo Olympic Stadium.

The Dominican Republic holidays continue throughout the year with celebrations from July to the last day of December.