So many events take place each year in the Dominican Republic that outsiders might wonder if life on the island is a non-stop party.
While it is true that the people of the Dominican Republic are a lively bunch, they are also a group proud of their religion and heritage – and that is what many of these festivals celebrate. To truly get a sense of what is important to inhabitants of the island, plan to attend an event or festival during your Dominican Republic vacation.
The Caribbean's ubiquitous Carnival celebration is celebrated in the Dominican Republic each February with parades, street dancing, food festivals, and lots of music.
Semana Santa is Holy Week. Festivities take place in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Parades, beauty pageants, and different festivals in each town throughout the country fill the week.
In June the Dominica Republic celebrates Espíritu Santo to honor the island's African heritage with nationwide festivals featuring African music.
Concerts, dance troupes, arts and crafts booths, and chefs celebrate Dominican heritage with an annual cultural festival in Puerto Plata each June.
Fiesta Patria de la Restauración, or Restoration Day, celebrates the Dominican Republic's day of independence from Spain, which occurred in 1863. Nationwide events include parades, music festivals, street festivals, and food festivals.
Three days each June is set aside for the Latin Music Festival in Santo Domingo. Both local and international Latin musicians and bands take the stage.
During the last week of July and first week of August Santo Domingo hosts some of the world's top meringue bands at the Festival del Merengue. Other events during the two week long party include and food festival and an arts and crafts festival.
October's Puerto Plata Festival brings musicians from around the country together to perform live music in a variety of genres. Blue, jazz, folk, salsa, and meringue are the most common. Other happenings during the event include a food festival and a parade.
...top jazz musicians and bands.
Another musical event takes place in October during Columbus Day Weekend: the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. Concerts are held in Puerto Plata, Sosua, and Cabarete, and feature some of the country's top jazz musicians and bands. Food booths are a part of the event as well.
The town of Cabarete hosts fun events each weekend during the month of February, called Cabarete Alegra. The first week features a mountain bike race, the second a kite flying competition, the third a sand castle building event, and the fourth a windsurfing competition.
Windsurfers from around the world flock to the beaches of Cabarete each July for five days of windsurfing competitions, beach volleyball competitions, numerous concerts, and festivals.
In July, Punta Cana hosts the Trisports Summer Fest, which hopes to promote healthy living and the practice of team sports. Everyone between the ages of six and 99 are welcome to attend and take part in events such as a tridathalon, duatholon, and aquathon.
On New Years Day, the people of Bayaguana celebrate Festivales del Santo Cristo de Bayaguana. Events leading up to Mass include a parade, music, and dance.
Each January the Dominican Republic honors Juan Pablo Duerte with gun salutes in Santo Domingo and numerous carnivals throughout the country. Duerte is celebrated as the man who gained independence from Haiti for the Dominican Republic.
The premier culinary event in the whole of the Caribbean is Taste SD, which takes place in October of each year. During the event, hundreds of restaurants, food vendors, chefs, and others on the culinary scene host a series of presentations, tastings, and more. The event stretches out over several days and venues and is known to attract several thousand guests. The main event, unveiled in 2012, is the Culinary Cup of the Americas in which chefs participate in several cooking and baking events hoping to win the top prize.
For four days each December, independent films, shorts, and documentaries are screened.
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