Anyone that has visited the Dominican Republic will tell you that Dominicans love to party (ask any of ISV's alumni!). I would like to share with you a little bit about a very important celebration in the Dominican Republic and one of my favorite times of year: Carnival.
On the 27th of February we celebrate our nation's independence from 22 years of Haitian occupation (from 1822-1844). But this is not a history lesson- what I really want to tell you about about is how Dominicans love to celebrate this occasion.
Each year, Independence Day celebrations start at the beginning of February and go on for the entire month. Every single town, no matter how small it may be, has its own celebrations. Dominicans are known for being big party people and we would take any opportunity to celebrate- especially when it comes to our independence, so you will see thousands of people outside, parading along the main streets of every town.
Although Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic, it is in La Vega where the biggest celebration takes place and people from all over the island come to see the Diablos Cojuelos: Groups of people parading through the streets dressed with very colorful costumes and elaborate masks. If you are walking on the street watching these revelers, do not turn your back on them- they also carry a type of balloon made of cow bladder which they swing really hard at distracted onlookers and can leave a painful bruise in your back side! Carnival is a pretty crazy time!
Check out this website for more info on our Dominican carnival, considered one of the top three in the world.
Adolfo Ramirez, ISV Dominican Republic Tour Director