Category Archives: Religious Beliefs/Creencias Religiosas
Religious Beliefs / Creencias Religiosas
The Dominican Republic is a strongly Catholic country. Many vacations and time off work in accordance with Catholic and religious holidays. Here are a few of the religious beliefs and traditions of The Dominican Republic.
The Festival San Miguel is held yearly to celebrate El Patrono Arcángel San Miguel / The Patron Saint Archangel St. Michael, the Archangel is the patron saint of the Dominican armed forces.
San Miguel Arcángel
San Miguel Arcángel, Príncipe de la Milicia Celestial / Saint Michael the Archangel, Prince of the Celestial Militia and the Captain of the Celestial Legions. Combating the devil he leads the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. (more history of San Miguel in Spanish)
The celebration for the Arcángel San Miguel can get a little crazy. The entire area around the Iglesia and Parque San Miguel is full of people. Many are dressed in the traditional red, green and yellow clothing. The smell of cigar smoke is everywhere, clouds of smoke billowing, as this in another tradition of the festival.
The festival starts early in the morning with a service in the Iglesia San Miguel. Roads are closed and vendors have their tables set up. They sell red and green candles, silk flags and clothing, cigars and more. The Colmados are stocked full with beer and the traditional rum that many enjoying the festival partakes of.
Some Palos music and streets filled with people at the Festival San Migual in San Miguel, Zona Colonial.
The Horses and Military Take Part in the Festival
There is a celebration with horses from all over the country. These horses, both private and military, ride through the streets of the Colonial Zone and up to the festival.
The military band takes part in this important festival. Since San Miguel is the patron Saint of the Armed Forces they have a big presence in the festival. They not only participate but they also are there in force to make sure people do not get too crazy.
This is a video of the Military Band and The Horses heading to the festival through the streets of Ciudad Colonial.
The park where most of the activities happen is on Juan Isidro Perez and Jose Reyes in the San Miguel Sector of Ciudad Colonial.
Fiestas Patronales de la República Dominicana / Celebrations of the Patron Saints of Dominican Republic
Patronales/ Patron Saints. Every town and village in Dominican Republic has it’s own patron saint. Each town has a celebration for their saint. These celebrations usually cover an entire weekend or more with a party, music and just getting together of the inhabitants of the town in the local park or gathering area. It is a time of sharing with the neighbors and another excuse for having a party. Not that Dominicans need an excuse to have a party or a good time.
Here is a list of Patron Saints and different celebrations and what town celebrates that saint. The dates are a general reference and can change year to year depending on the dates the government sets. Try to visit a town during their celebrations. You will be so happy you did, even if you are not Catholic.
Enero / Janurary
1. Santo Cristo de los Milagros of Bayaguana – ofrenda de los toros/ The Offering of the bulls (More information about this tradition go to our page on Town Traditions)
21. Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia o Virgen de la Altagracia. Celebrated in San José de Ocoa, Monte Plata, Villa Altagracia, Paraiso y los bajos de Haina. More information on Altagracia
Febrero / February
2 Virgen de la Candelaria patron saint of San Carlos, in Santo Domingo and Sabana Grande de Boyá.
11 Nuestra Señora de Lourdes patron saint of Peralta in Azua
16 San Elías Barón del Cementerio/ The Barron of the Cemetery.
Marzo / March
3 y 4 San Benito de Palermo celebrated in Guayabal, a providence of Azua
4 y 5 Procesión Romana-Higüey a procession to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey,starting at the Obelisco in La Romana
8 Miércoles de Ceniza/ Ash Wednesday
17 Damballah is symbolized by un arco iris/ Rainbow
19 San José this saint is celebrated in the towns of Restauración in Dajabón, Río Grande in Puerto Plata, Villa Vásquez in Prov. Montecristi, San José de las Matas in Prov. Dajabón, Yamasá in Prov. Monte Plata, El Valle in Sabana de la Mar. In Azua this patron saint is celebrated with carnival like festivities.
Abril / April
8 Amancia Pérez patron saint of Pueblo Arriba, Baní. This is the death of this saint who was the keeper of the San Juan Bautista en la Cofradía/ Saint John the Baptist in the Brotherhood
14 y 15 La Dolorita patron saint of Los Morenos, Villa Mella. She is a saint who bestows miracles and helps the people. It is celebrated by hundresd with salves, atabales, rezos y cantos/dance, prayers and song.(to learn more about salves, atables and afro dominican music)
Mayo / May
1 San José Obrero celebrated in Villa Jaragua in Prov. Bahoruco and Ensanche Ozama in Santo Domingo
3 San Felipe Apostol patron saint of Puerto Plata.
13 Nuestra Señora de Fátima celebrated in Villa Sinda in Prov. Montecristi, Galván in Prov. Bahoruco, Arenoso in Prov. Duarte and Hondo Valle in Prov. Samaná.
15 San Isidro el Labrador celebrated in Castillo in Prov. Duarte, Luperón in Puerto Plata, Las Caobas in Santiago Rodríguez, CLavelLina y Uvilla in Prov. Bahoruco, EL Llano in Elías Piña, Santé y La Enea in Prov. La Altagracia.
21 Espíritu Santo celebrated in Cotuí and many of the rural communities throughout Dominican Republic. (Here is a little information on this music)
18(?) Santa Rita de Casia celebrated in Juan Barón a Prov.of San Cristóbal, Sabana Perdida in Santo Domingo
30 San Fernando Rey patron saint of Montecristi.
Junio / June
11 San Bernabé patron saint of Villa Mella.
13 San Antonio de Padua patron saint of Bonao in Prov. Monseñor Nouel, Guerra in Prov. Monte Plata, La Victoria in Santo Domingo, Villa Rivas in Prov. Duarte, Monción in Prov. Santiago Rodríguez, Miches in Prov. El Seibo
22 Corazón de María patron saint of Chaquey Abajo in Cotuí
29 San Pedro y San Pablo patron saint of San Pedro de Macorís; Las Salinas in Prov. Barahona, El Cercado in Prov. San Juan de la Maguana, Fundación de Peravia in Prov.Peravia.
30 San Pablo Apóstol patron saint celebration in Villa González
Septiembre / September
7 Nuestra Señora de los Remedios patron saint of Azua, Cabral in Barahona, El Limón in Jimaní, Naranjo in San Juan de la Maguana
14 Exaltación de la Santísima Cruz patron saint of Mao in Valverde
29 San Miguel Arcángel / St. Michael, the Archangel is the patron saint of the Dominican armed forces. He is the Captain of the Celestial Legions. Combating the devil he leads the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. Celebrated in the Santo Domingo town of San Miguel at the Iglesia San Miguel. History of the important Festival San Miguel.
Octubre / October
1 San Francisco patron saint of Bánica
4 Nuestra Señora del Rosario patron saint of Barahona
12 Nuestra Señora del Pilar patron saint of Sabana de la Mar and Cevicos.
14 Santa Rosa de Jesús patron saint of Elías Piña.
15 Santa Teresa de Avila patron saint of Comendador in Elías Piña
24 San Rafael patron saint of Boca Chica, Capotillo, Palma Herrada y los 21 in Moca, San Rafael del Yuma, Tamboril, Estancia Vieja in Santiago Rodríguez, Villa Tapia y Quita Sueño in Cotuí, Guayacanes in Valeverde
29 San Judas Tadeo patron saint of Escondido in Baní
Noviembre / November
1 Todos los Santos patron saint of Maguana in San Juan de la Maguana
21 Nuestra Señora de Regla patron saint of Baní
Diciembre / December
5 Santa Bárbara patron saint of Samaná
8 Inmaculada Concepción patron saint of Cotuí, Monte Grande in Dajabón, Estancia Nueva in Moca, Sombrero in Baní, Oviedo in Pedernales, Ramón Santana in San Pedro de Macorís
13 Santa Lucía patron saint of Las Matas de Farfán and El Peñón in Barahona
18 Virgen del Amparo patron saint of Polo in Barahona and Esperanza in Valverde
is a very important time here in Dominican Republic. Religious Holidays are recognized countrywide since the countries main population is Catholic. Christmas, Epiphany and other religious holidays are very important but Semana Santa is the most important of all these religious holidays.
The long weekend for the Easter holiday is usually used to go away, usually with family. The churches are full as people respect the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus or El Senor. Most people go home, wherever this may be, just to hang with family and friends or just to visit the old hometown. Others flock to the beaches, rivers and other tourist areas to take advantage of the 3 days free from working. The city of Santo Domingo turns into a ghost town. Most businesses and stores are closed. Highways and streets are almost empty except the main roads leading out of the cities. Sunday evening the roads fill. There are traffic jams galore. All is congested once again with all the people returning to their homes and get back to real life once again.
Be aware! If you plan on visiting Dominican Republic during this time, especially heading to beach and recreation areas I highly suggest that you make your reservations in hotels far in advance. Most hotels are full and it will be very difficult to find a bed to lay your weary head if you procrastinate.
There are Police, Military, Red Cross and many volunteers along the roads and at all the main intersections making sure people are obeying the traffic laws. They are also stationed on the beaches and at the popular rivers to ensure that people have fun and are safe.
The Dominican Civil Defense will be stationed throughout the country with the participation of six thousand workers and more than eight thousand volunteers in over 1400 strategic locations. They will be watching beaches, rivers and highways to make sure the big weekend runs smoothly.
As per the Catholic tradition first comes Ash Wednesday/ Miércoles de ceniza. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday / Domingo de Ramos. On Holy Thursday/ Jueves Santo morning is the Chrism Mass/ Misa Crismal and in the evening is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, accompanied by the washing of feet and a procession. At noon on Good Friday/ Viernes Santo is the Sermon on the Seven Words. Holy Saturday/ Sabado Santo an Easter Vigil is held from around 11pm until dawn. Then on Easter Sunday/ Domingo de Resurrección or Domingo de Pascua there is an Easter Mass at noon.
A beautiful tradition on Saturday is kite flying. From the ground or from the rooftops you will see the skies full of all types of kites, known in Dominican Republic as chichiguas. Kites made of paper and plastic bags. It does not matter. They are flown as a sign of hope for all.
Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes
The church of Las Mercedes (on Calle Mercedes and Jose Reyes in Zona Colonial) is the place to be in Santo Domingo for the religious ceremony. After the service, around 5PM, there is a procession to the first cathedral in the Americas, Cathedral Santa Maria. Here is held a special Mass called Eucharist.
are held in many areas of the country, especially areas with large Haitian settlements and communities with strong African roots. Here in Santo Domingo in the city of Villa Mella one can see and hear these gaga drum celebrations with music and dancing. Gaga ceremonies have both magical and religious parts. The spirits are invoked including Luaces (lights in Creole) along with other mysterious, holy and powerful beings. There is usually lots of music, dancing and drinking. (A little information about GaGa)
Other celebrations include the Guloyas in San Pedro de Macoris. They are known for their colorful outfits and lively dances and characters that walk the streets.
The last Cardinal of Dominican Republic, Nicolas de Jesús López Rodriguez, and the Bishops walking across Calle Isabel la Catolica to the Sunday Easter Mass at the Cathedral Santa Maria, the first Cathedral in the Americas, in Ciudad Colonial.
they prepare for Holy Week. Since many people do not eat meat during this time fish and seafood is very popular. Potato Salad Dominican style is a favorite. The most popular dish is called habichuelas con dulce / Sweet Beans and usually can be found in every home throughout the country. It is a mix of red beans, condensed milk, spices and other ingredients served cold pudding style. Usually these dished are made in large quantities to serve all who might visit and to share with the neighbors. Here is the recipe for habichuelas con dulce in case you want to give this traditional desert a try.
The Semana Santa Procession
on the corners of Calle Padre Billini and Isabel la Catolica in Ciudad Colonial 2012. It is not very clear. I am sorry. It was getting dark. I tried to lighten it some.
Operation Holy Week/ Operativo Semana Santa
During the holiday weekend there are many restrictions according to Resolution No. 96/2012.
*Jet Skis and Wave Runners, Motorized Boats, Horses, Motorbikes, and Motorized Vehicles are NOT permitted on the beaches in the entire country from Thursday to Sunday.
*There will be NO boats used in
-Laguna Gri Gri in Rio San Juan
-The Sanoa Island
-Cayo Levantado Island
*Heavy equipment vehicles are prohibited to be on highways from 6AM Thursday until 6AM Monday.
*There is usually a curfew of 5:45PM for swimmers to get out of the water daily on busy public beaches.
*Many places have a ban on loud music for the weekend. Inside businesses it is OK but the noise is not permitted to weft outside. This is not enforced like it used to be but it still happens in many locations. It is especially quiet on Good Friday around noon until midnight.
*Many beach areas have a “No Glass” rule in force. You cannot enter the beach area with any alcoholic beverage in glass bottles.
*Many of the more dangerous beaches and rivers are closed (some closed beaches include San Soucí, Manresa, Güibia, the coastline of Avenidas España and Las Américas, the beach of San Andrés, banks of the Ozama River, Río Isabela Norte, la Poza in Hato Nuevo, San Rafael, Los Patos, River Yaque del Norte. Also the Damns of Bao, Taveras, El Pinalito, López Angostura, El Papayo, Sabana Yegua, de Yuboa and de Chacuey) at this time to ensure the publics safety. Also water motor sports are prohibited close to beach areas during the holiday. There is usually a complete listing of the closed areas on the Civil Defense web site http://www.defensacivil.gov.do. I will also post any special events and happenings in the area on the Colonial Zone News Blog.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas
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