January 1 - New Year
The year begins with a New Year celebration. From the night before, parties
are held in the streets, plazas and houses. Some people traditionally wear white
or new clothing, burn incense and change some goods in the house for good luck.
Santo Cristo de los Milagros de Bayaguana.
A religious and popular festival celebrated since the beginning of the Spanish
colonization and after the devastation of Osorio in 1605-06. This worship festival
enjoys great popular acceptance, as people make a pilgrimage to this community
to participate in the festivities, which include a series of events like the
offering and sale of bulls (whose proceeds go to the Church) and the procession,
with songs in competition, prayers, praises, while ginger tea, coffee and food,
accompanied by beef, are prepared.
January 6 - the Wise Men
A popular festival, especially for children, who, the night before, leave sweets,
mint candies, and cigarettes for the kings, as well as grass and water for the
camels underneath their beds or the Christmas tree, and hope for presents in
exchange. On the fifth, in Santo Domingo, a parade of Wise Men on horses takes
January 21 - Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia or Virgen de la Altagracia
This is the most widespread religious and popular festival in the country.
Festivities are dedicated to the Patron Saint of the Dominican people, in the
Basílica de Higüey, starting on January 12 with novenas and including
masses, prayers, songs, petitions, praises and, above all, a pilgrimage toward
Higüey accompanied by drums. The celebration of popular worship is held
at the national level: in Arroyo Hondo (in Baní), Cabrera (María
Trinidad Sánchez), Catañuelas (Montecristi), Pedernales, La Victoria
(Distrito Nacional), Villa Altagracia (San Cristóbal), Nagua (María
Trinidad Sánchez), Las Yayas (Azua), Río Arriba (Peravia), Monte
Plata, Paraíso (Bahoruco), Acosta (Samaná), La Montería
(Peravia) and Nizao (Peravia), among others.
February 2 - Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
Religious and popular festival celebrated in the sector of San Carlos, a neighborhood
of Santo Domingo, in Guerra (Prov. Monte Plata) and Sabana Grande de Boyá
(Province of San Cristóbal).
February 16 - San Elías or el Barón del Cementerio.
In centers of popular religion, a day of worship to San Elías or the
Barón del Cementerio, head of the Guedé division, a part of Dominican
voodoo, is celebrated in an act of syncretism, as he is identified as the first
person buried in the cemetery. The faithful followers of this deity give offerings
of food, flowers, candles, songs and prayers and ask favors of all sorts on
this day, Monday and November 2, Día de los Fieles Difuntos, or All Souls'
March 3-4 - San Benito de Palermo
Religious and social festivities belonging to the community of Guayabal (Azua),
where salves, traditional Dominican call and response songs, are accompanied
by atabales, typical Dominican long drums.
March - April - Lent
The Lenten period begins with Ash Wednesday, a ritual that announces the 40
days of fasting and prayer in preparation for Holy Week.
A product of Dominican-Haitian cultural syncretism, during the last days of
Holy Week, specifically Thursday to Friday. The religious ritual is celebrated
in the bateyes, or worker settlements, of Gagá, by mixing African, Haitian
and Dominican musical and dance elements.
April 14 - La Dolorita
Religious and popular festival in honor of La Dolorita the most venerated virgin
in the community of Los Morenos in Villa Mella. During this celebration, salves
and prayers are sung and atabales are played and all of the members of the community
April 19 - San Expedito
Religious and popular rituals in honor of San Expedito, also called Guedé
Nibó, the patron saint of youth, family, the elderly and the duties of
the State and business, especially of corner convenience stores.
April 23 - Día Internacional del Libro and de San Jorge
The Feria Internacional del Libro, the International Book Fair, is the largest exhibition of books and cultural activities in the country. The book show and store is accompanied by a program of cultural events carried out by the student population.
May 1 - San José Obrero
Popular celebration in Villa Jaragua (province of Bahoruco) and in the parish
of Ensanche Ozama.
May 2-3 - Santísima Cruz de Mayo
It is one of the oldest and most popular festivals of the country. Celebrated
from colonial times, it originated from the discovery of the cross of Christ
by Saint Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine. In the country, crosses
or crucifixes are decorated, altars are constructed and processions are held
with drums and salves. The celebration is important in the provinces of San
Cristóbal and Peravia.
May 3 - San Felipe
Celebration of the patron festivities in Imbert and the city of Puerto Plata
in the province of the same name.
May 13 - Nuestra Señora de Fátima
Religious and popular celebrations in honor of the Virgin in Villa Sinda (Province
of Montecristi), Galván (province of Bahoruco), Arenoso (province of
Duarte) and Hondo Valle (Samaná).
May 15 - San Isidro Labrador
Celebrations in honor of the saint in Castillo (province of Duarte), Luperón
(Puerto Plata) and Las Caobas (Santiago Rodríguez), among other communities.
May 21 - (moveable) Espíritu Santo
One of the oldest and most important festivals of the country, celebrated since
the Spanish colony. The celebration has special relevance in Villa Mella and
its surrounding areas, in which the Cofradía Congos de Villa Mella, a
percussion brotherhood, declared World Heritage by UNESCO, plays congo music
in the spirit's honor and has done so since the 18th century. The Catholic Church
celebrates Pentecost. The Batey de San Juan de la Maguana celebrates the festival
of Saint John the Baptist.
May 22 - Death of Olivorio Mateo
In San Juan de la Maguana, the anniversary of the death of the leader of the
most important messianic movement in the country, which occurred in 1922. Parties
and processions are held in his honor in San Juan de la Maguana and other localities.
May 30 - San Fernando
June 13 - San Antonio de Papua
Festivities for the patron saint are celebrated in the communities of Bonao
(Monseñor Nouel), Guerra (Monte Plata), La Victoria (Distrito Nacional,
Villa Riva, Prov. Duarte), Monción (Santiago Rodríguez), Miches
(El Seibo). The celebrations are accompanied by the singing of salves, the playing
of atabales and prayers. The most representative activity of the celebration
is the dance of la Comarca.
June 18 - Fiestas del Espíritu Santo
June 22 - Thursday of Corpus Christi
Celebration of the Catholic liturgy, one of the oldest celebrated in American
and Santo Domingo. It contributes to carnival and is known in the popular realm
as "The day that the Donkey talked".
June 23-24 - San Juan Bautista
Festival that dates back to colonial times, celebrated in communities like
Baní, San Juan, el Naranjo (Barahona), Bayaguana (Monte Plata), Santiago
and Santo Domingo. In this celebration, atabales are played, salves are sung,
the people pray and horse races are held. The Sarandunga (in Peravia) is one
of the most important musical manifestations, as it reflects Afro-Dominican
June 29 - San Pedro and San Pablo
Celebrations for the patron saints in the communities of San Pedro de Macorís, las Salinas (Barahona), el Cercado (San Juan de la Maguana and Fundación (Peravia)). In San Pedro de Macorís, a characteristic element of the festival is the participation of the Guloyas, or dance groups, which perform traditional Dominican dances.
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