All year round, the Dominicans, known as lovers of Festivities, music and celebrations, have holidays that cater to culture, religion, music and everything else in between. Below are the Dominican Republic Holidays that are celebrated in the country throughout the second half of the year.
A two-week festival begins on the third week of July and continues into the following month. It is called the Santo Domingo Meringue Festival or El Festival del Merengue de Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo is the largest city and the Capital Of The Dominican Republic.
The Festival Showcases the country’s own Style Of Music and dance the Merengue and practically all Merengue acts of the last couple of decades, on top of gastronomic festivals that include anything from the usual Dominican Republic fair to competitions such as Bartender of the Year Competition and Waiter’s Marathon.
Just a few days before the festival, the foundation of Sociedad La Trinitaria is celebrated.
The highlight of this month is the celebration of the Fiesta Patria de la Restauracion or the Restoration Day. This is celebrated on the 6th of August to commemorate the country’s final independence from Spain in the year 1863. Festivities are held throughout the nation although the largest are in the country’s main towns, Santo Domingo and Santiago.
Two days prior to the Restoration Day, people at Salvalen de Higey, or simply Higey, celebrate the Festival of the Bulls.
Fiestas patronales occupy the month of September. On September 14, Santisma Cruz, otherwise known as Fiestas De la Santisima Vera Cruz in Spain from where the feast came from, is celebrated in Valverde province. In La Vega, the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, otherwise known as Our Lady of Mercedes or Our Lady Of Mercy, the Patron Saint of the country is celebrated on the 24th. It is an official non-working Dominican holiday.
The feasts in honor of Patron Saints end with one that commemorates San Miguel in Los Patos, Barahona and Vaca Gorda in Dajabon.
Comparable to the Merengue Festival of July, the Puerto Plata Festival is celebrated every third week of the month. This is a lively festivity that includes everything that is Dominican food, live bands, parades, and street dances.
On October 12, the entire nation commemorates the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus on the holiday formally known as Descubrimento de America. Main celebrations are held in the Faro a Colon, at the tomb of Christopher Columbus, and at the Cathedral in Santo Domingo.
This is then followed by the Festivities of Bambula, an African-derived dance, on October 24th.
November begins with the observation of All Saints day. Six days following this holiday, Dominicans commemorate the Constitution Day, which marks the official signing of the country’s first constitution on November 6, 1844.
Six Fiestas Patronelas are celebrated on this month Todos Los Santos in San Juan de Maguana on November 1, Santa Lucia in San Juan on November 13, Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza in Valverde and Virgen del Amparo in Barahona which both fall on November 18, Nuestra Senora de Regla in Bani on November 21, and finally, San Andres in Boca Chica on November 30.
What would be December without the Festivities? Dominicans celebrate Christmas with a special twist on the 24th, although anticipation for the coming celebrations commences on the 1st day of the month. This month is also dedicated for the celebration of the Santa Barbara Day on the 4th.
On top of these are the various Fiestas Partonales or the feasts held in honor of the various Patron Saints in the land. These feasts vary slightly from one town to another. Celebrations differ because of the traditions surrounding the feasts and the Patron Saints, themselves, are not the same for every town. Nevertheless, these Dominican Republic Holidays bring to the table all that is Dominican music, parade, prayer, and dance.