Go for carnival fun this February with a Dominican Republic holiday in Santo Domingo
One of the most famous traditional festivities of the Dominican Republic is about to begin. Carnival, which will be celebrated throughout February and early March, is a fun and exotic experience for those interested in taking Dominican Republic holidays.
The warm Dominican winter is filled with celebration every year with one of their most traditional festivities. Carnival, to be carried out through February until early March, is just beginning. This colourful, joyous and energetic celebration not only showcases the island’s spontaneity and vibrancy; but is also a great excuse for travellers to take cultural holidays in the Dominican Republic and explore the magnificent scene.
An air of excitement and joy will fill many cities in the island, including its capital, Santo Domingo, where the Carnival parade will march down the Malecon, their seaside boulevard. Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and La Vega are some of the other famous cities hosting the event. Carnival was first celebrated during the colonial period in 1520, and it is a pre-Lenten custom influenced by European and African roots. In the beginning, Dominicans took part in these parades to escape escaping religious pressures. Today, Carnival is about having fun and celebrating the country’s Independence Day, which is on 27th February, date which marks the peak of the party.
Magaly Toribio, marketing advisor for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, explains how the tradition is a perfect opportunity to rejoice and have a good time on Dominican Republic holidays as well as a great occasion to get tourists more interested in the country’s culture. “Carnival is a meaningful festival that embodies Dominican Republic’s deep sense of hospitality and graciousness, passion and liveliness, and pride and appreciation,” she said “Dominicans excitedly and exceptionally come together as they personify their beloved country and all that it encompasses. Onlookers are invited to participate in the Dominican spirit that makes our country so special.”
Visitors can expect a beautiful festival full of people dressed with bright colours, dancing and partying to the beat of merengue music. Spirited dancers, wearing magnificent costumes, will animate the party on top of the specially-decorated floats. All kinds of fabrics and accessories are used to create these outfits, from mirrors to rattles, ribbons and bells. Masks are also a big part of the tradition, and can be made out of almost anything participants think of: papier-mâché, feathers, coloured gourds, plantain leaves, satin, taffeta, ribbons and tiny dolls
Celebrations are as varied as the attire in every one of the country’s different cities. Visitors that want to spend their winter one of the amazing hotels in Santo Domingo, or in the eco-rich Puerto Plata, or in the glamorous Punta Cana should know that these are not the only venues with special and thrilling parades. Lesser-known towns like Santiago, La Vega, Rio San Juan, Constanza, Montecristi, Samana and Higuey also celebrate Carnival in their own authentic way. A thrilling contest takes place annually in Santiago; local artisans compete against each other make the most original mask for Carnival. Meanwhile, in La Vega two festivities called ‘popular carnival’ and ‘social carnival’ are the centre of attention.
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