Tag Archives: family

Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

The Parque Eugenio María de Hostos, located on the Malecon sea side road in Santo Domingo, is a beautiful park to visit. The plaza has tree and flower-lined paths, playground and exercise areas and a reflecting pool. The park was also known as Plaza Colombina and Parque Ramfis. It is a place of fun, beauty and also a place of incredible sadness.

Parque Eugenio María de Hostos, located on the Malecon sea side road in Santo Domingo
Parque Eugenio María de Hostos, located on the Malecon sea side road in Santo Domingo

The Plaza History | New and Improved Parque Eugenio María de Hostos | National Scout Office | Who Is Eugenio María de Hostos?

The Plaza History

The Park and public space Eugenio Maria de Hostos has a very interesting past and present.

The original park was named Plaza Colombina and was there before the entire seafront was reworked to be a place for enjoyment. (President Trujillo is the person that build the seafront road, The Malecon. Before this there was no real road to speak of.)

On September 3, 1930 a devastating hurricane, Cyclone San Zenón, hit Santo Domingo directly. There were only 400 buildings left standing of the cities 10,000 some structures. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who had just recently become president, declared a state of emergency, as tens of thousands of the cities residents were now homeless.

Plaza Colombina was used to dispose of and burn the storm debris. These fires were also used as funeral pyres, for cremating hundreds of the human and animal casualties from this incredibly devastating hurricane (some say that the dictator Trujillo used this opportunity to also dispose of politicians and activists that did not die in the storm).

The park was again renovated and inaugurated in 1936 during days of dictator Trujillo. The new name was Parque Ramfis, named after Trujillo’s first-born son.

The park was very well kept. It had a public swimming pool, library, aquarium, aviary, a place for skating, bicycle trail and pavilions for concerts.(Old pictures of the park are located in the Old Pictures of Dominican Republic image collection).

The old Parque Ramfis
The old Parque Ramfis

The name changed, once again, to Parque Eugenio María de Hostos in 1961. Over the years it changed to a dull, dirty and depressing place. It was boarded up for many years and became an eyesore along the Malecon.

Reflecting pool -  Parque Eugenio María de Hostos
Reflecting pool – Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

New and Improved Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

The new Parque Eugenio María de Hostos
The new Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

After closing the park for about six years and spending over 80 million pesos on renovation works the new Parque Eugenio María de Hostos was inaugurated on December 14, 2013.

Parque Eugenio María de Hostos new architect design

The newly improved park adhered to much of the original park looks and design. The park has many flowers, shrubs and trees including beautiful Oaks (Robles), Almond (Almendras) and Palms. There are a playground and an exercise area plus a beautiful reflecting pool in the center.

The playground -  Parque Eugenio María de Hostos
The playground – Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

There is a fountain with reflecting pool and a mural by artist Manuel Toribio. You can stroll along the beautiful and serene flower-lined walkways that twist and turn throughout the park.

Mural by artist Manuel Toribio -  Parque Eugenio María de Hostos
Mural by artist Manuel Toribio – Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

There is a section where there is exercise equipment for all to use and a brightly painted playground for the children and even clean public restrooms. There is a police station located in the park, good lighting and security cameras for the safety of all.

The exercise equipment -  Parque Eugenio María de Hostos
The exercise equipment – Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

The park is now a fantastic and fun place for the entire family.


The Malecon (Avenida George Washington) of Santo Domingo across from the Plaza Juan Barón and the Obelisco Macho, Ciudad Nueva. Walking distance from the Colonial City.

National Scout Office

Asociación de Scouts Dominicanos, Inc. - Parque Eugenio María de Hostos
Asociación de Scouts Dominicanos, Inc. – Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

For the Scouts, the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Park has special importance. It is the headquarters of the Asociación de Scouts Dominicanos, Inc. / Dominican Scout Association, Inc. and has housed the National Scout Office since the 1950s and is the home of Scout Group No.7. “In 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Scout movement to the Dominican Republic. The reopening of this space that houses the national home of the Scouts, as is the Eugenio María park Hostos, occurs at the right time, as it will allow us to celebrate with the rest of the citizenry this historical moment in our home, “said Diana Taveras, No. 7 Scout Group.

Buenagente reflecting at the pool - Parque Eugenio María de Hostos
Buenagente reflecting at the pool – Parque Eugenio María de Hostos

Who Is Eugenio María de Hostos?

Eugenio María de Hostos Bonilla (Born January 11, 1839 and died on August 11, 1903 at the age of 64). He was born in Puerto Rico, educated in Puerto Rico, and Spain and traveled extensively throughout the Americas. He held many titles including educator, philosopher, lawyer, writer, sociologist and fighter for women’s rights. He also has many published written works.

Hostos and his Cuban wife had 5 children. He was known as “The Great Citizen of the Americas” / “El Gran Ciudadano de las Américas”.

Eugenio María de Hostos first came to the Dominican Republic in 1875 where he founded a Teachers School. He stayed here for a year, then moved to Venezuela. He returned off and on to Santo Domingo and helped to reorganize the educational and railroad systems of the country.

Eugenio María de Hostos remains are located in the Panteón Nacional in Colonial Zone, as he wished. They are only to be moved to Puerto Rico on the day the country is completely independent. His birthday is a national holiday in Puerto Rico. Honoring Hostos are schools, monuments, towns and more in Dominican Republic, Spain, USA and other countries.

More detailed information about Eugenio María de Hostos.

Tradition – Marriage, Funeral

Marriage and Funeral Traditions in Dominican Republic

The Marriage and Funeral traditions in Dominican Republic are passed down from generation to generation. Marriage and Wedding traditions are very important. Starting with asking for the hand in marriage, the service and giving of gifts. The same with Funeral traditions. Many traditions, such as the wearing of black, have changed for many. Even though nowadays many modern traditions have seeped into the culture, the old traditions and ways are still honored.

Marriage and Preparing For Marriage Traditions | Funeral Traditions

Marriage/ Matrimoniales Traditions in Dominican Republic

Taking some pre-wedding pictures at Plazolita Padre Billing in the Colonial Zone.
Taking some pre-wedding pictures at Plazolita Padre Billing in the Colonial Zone.

The man usually proposes.

If the couple decides to have a church wedding/ boda and reception then the bride’s family does most of the preparations.

Weddings can be expensive and so some people choose to have smaller gatherings or just marry in civil court.

As of January 2012 The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has trained pastors representing non-Catholic religious denominations to celebrate weddings including the Iglesia Asamblea de Dios, Asamblea de Iglesia Pentecostal, Concilio Cristiano, Iglesia Apostolica Misionera, Iglesia Adventista del Septimo Dia, Concilio Menonita, Iglesia Metodista Libre, Dios de la Profecia and Asamblea Cristiana. In the past, only a Catholic Church priest could marry a couple. Followers of other Christian religions had to go through a civil marriage process with a Justice of Peace. In the past, anyone wanting to marry outside of the Catholic faith had to marry in a Civil Court or Judges Chamber so they can have all the necessary legal documents. The couple would marry in civil court or in a judge’s chamber the morning of the wedding or even the day before the actual church wedding. Then they could have their ceremony in their chosen religion.

Bridesmaids and large wedding parties are not the norm here. Having a cute little ring bearer and flower girl is. Many times the little ones dress the same as the bride and groom, in smaller scale.

Having “padrinos and madrinas” (godparents of the wedding) is very traditional. The godparents are usually the mother of the groom and the father of the bride and their role is to serve as witnesses. Along with the couple, the godparents also sign the marriage certificate.

Another tradition is to have a child (usually a boy) carry the “arras” or coins on a silver tray. The boy would have 13 coins (they are usually 10 cent coins) that at some point during the ceremony will be passed to the priest. The priest will pass them to the groom and he in turn will pass them to the bride. This exchange signifies that the couple pledges to provide for each other and that material goods are to be shared equally. The whole thing is very symbolic and is quite romantic.

In addition to the flower girl, the ring bearer and the coins bearer, the ceremony also has a child that carries a fancy white bible.

The mother of the groom, escorted by the groom, enters the church first. The mother of the bride then enters escorted by the father of the groom. The wedding party enters next including the children, usually entering in pairs.

Another Dominican tradition is to have what is called a “ceremonia cantada” meaning that every piece of music was actually sung, instead of being just instrumental.

It used to be that Dominican wedding receptions consisted mostly of cake and champagne, along with light appetizers at best. Today, sit down dinners or a party are the style.

There is usually a bachelor party / despedida de soltero and bachelorette party / despedida de soltera. The bridal shower is another tradition.

The vast majority of Dominicans deliver their gifts to the bride’s home before the wedding day. Never take a gift with you to the wedding ceremony or reception.

Taking wedding pictures at the Ruinas del Monistario San Francisco under dark skies.
Taking wedding pictures at the Ruinas del Monistario San Francisco under dark skies.

The church is usually not divided into “bride’s” and “groom’s” sides. So you can sit where you would like.

At the end of the liturgy, a large number of people go to the altar. These are witnesses, and there could be dozens. Asking someone to be a witness is a way of honoring them as a special guest. Family members and friends will be included.

The newly married couple will be the first to exit the church. Do not try to greet them outside. Instead, proceed directly to the reception.

The bride and her father have the first dance. The groom and the bride’s mother join them. Then the entire wedding party and family enter the dance floor. After this then the guests can start dancing.

Most newlywed couples will stay until the end of their party, which could last til 3 AM or later. They are never the first to leave. If you want to leave do not hesitate to leave before the bride and groom. Any time after the meal is socially acceptable, although you are likely to miss quite a party.

There is no tradition about the Groom not seeing the Bride before the wedding. This is when most of the wedding party photographs are taken.

Many of the best locations for picture taking is in the Colonial Zone with all it’s beautiful old buildings, parks and monuments.

Funeral Traditions/ Tradiciones Funerarias

Dominicans show much respect for their dead. A funeral is an event that will gather people together, including family members, who may not have seen each other for a number of years. Inside the chapel it is sedated and reverent, but outside, it is livelier almost reminiscent of a normal social occasion.

A cemetery in the town of Nizao
A cemetery in the town of Nizao

The Wake will continue until 12 noon the next day, followed by burial at the cemetery. It is the family’s choice, some decide to retire at midnight and return the next day around 7AM for the burial.

Many families follow on with a series of memorial masses held for nine (9) consecutive days. This is known as los nueves dias, novenario, or la vela. When and where these masses are to be held will be announced. It is not necessary to go to these masses unless you were a close friend of the person or family, especially if you attended the funeral. One is never expected to attend all the masses unless you want to do so. If you were not able to attend the funeral you should go to one of the masses. You might choose to go to the last one that usually will be announced in the press. This marks the end of the mourning period ceremonies.

The nine days of mourning usually consist of three days of grieving (crying and reminiscing). 3 days of silence (thinking and reverence). The last 3 days are for release (accepting and separating).

To “cumplir” is to act in accordance with the standard social procedures. A person will go to a funeral whether or not it is his desire; it is his duty. To “cumplir” is important in this society. It signifies respect and caring.

Wreaths on graves in Bayahibe.
Wreaths on graves in Bayahibe.

Many of the poorer people are only laid out for 1 day in the home. This is because of the heat and fast decomposition of the body. Also, the caskets usually have a window for viewing. Maybe this is to keep the smell in and bugs out.

Flowers are not expected.

Only good friends and family are expected at the burial.

A picture slide show of the Cementerio Nacional de la Avenida Independencia/ National Cemetery on Avenue Independencia, Santo Domingo.


Christmas in Dominican Republic / Navidad en República Dominicana

Christmas Dominican style is a fabulous time. The food, the music, the parties, the beaches, the lights and the unique traditions and best of all, it is not cold!

Christmas | Songs | Decorations | Traditional Foods | Town and Neighborhood Traditions | Children – Three Kings Day | El Burrito de Belén song and lyrics | Christmas Words | Picture Collection – Christmas in Colonial Zone and Dominican Republic

The annual Christmas Tree at Plaza España, Ciudad Colonial
The annual Christmas Tree at Plaza España, Ciudad Colonial

Since Christmas is such a grand and important holiday here in the Dominican Republic it deserves a page all its own. It is such a large celebration that it starts in October and ends in January. With its exhilarating parties, spectacular fireworks, relaxing family time and fantastic food, there is just too much good information for a small section.

Christmas in Dominican Republic lasts for about 3 months, more or less. It is a time to get together with friends and family and enjoy. Although here everyone seems to have a great time always, Christmas is even more of a delight. The airlines are booked solid with people returning to their roots to celebrate in the place they call home. There is such an excitement felt in the streets throughout the country. The passion culminates with the fireworks that seem to happen more often the closer the holiday gets.

Trying to do business during this time is not easy, peoples minds are not on accomplishing anything. All that seems to be on the mind is having fun and relishing the company of others.

Indulging ones self with all the traditional foods that one does not get throughout the year is much anticipated. The aromas of food whiffs out into the streets from kitchens where people are preparing their specialties. There are parties, both private and community gatherings everywhere. The festive spirit is in abundance. On the faces of people, the lights and decorations, the festive feelings, the fireworks and the food.

Christmas Traditions

Fuegos Artificiales

Christmas Eve Fireworks over the Colonial Zone
Christmas Eve Fireworks over the Colonial Zone.

Fuegos artificiales/ Fireworks are a momentous tradition here in Dominican Republic. Children and adults love shooting off cohetes y petardos/ rockets and firecrackers of all types. Hospitals are especially busy mending burnt and mangled fingers of people that get a bit carried away with the fireworks. There are stands all over the country selling these festive and dangerous toys to light the sky or to make a big bang. In this way the season is celebrated with a bang!

Most businesses will close around 6 PM on Christmas Eve and some will not open at all on this day. This gives families time to get together for the big celebration of food and drink. In most tourist areas businesses are open, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s best to have what you need before this day just to be on the safe side.

Noche Buena

The main celebration happens on Noche Buena/ Christmas Eve (December 24th). This is when the big family dinners are held. People really do some substantial celebrating. Most people return to their home towns in order to enjoy the holiday with family and friends. Not to mention, most Dominicans love their mothers or aunts cooking so the must return home to enjoy the feast that is prepared. This family gathering is the center of the holiday festivity. December 25th, Christmas Day, is the day to recuperate.

Double Sueldo

As a traditional token of Christmas cheer, most employees receive an extra months pay in December, and so have a little extra cash on hand. This is called Double Sueldo, a Christmas bonus Dominican style. It is about the same as a months pay and helps to make Christmas holidays a more lighthearted time.

La Misa del Gall

Christmas / Navidad decorations at the Catedral Santo Domingo
Christmas / Navidad decorations at the Catedral Santo Domingo.

Religious people usually go to church for the Christmas Eve service. This service called La Misa del Gall. It is a Midnight Mass traditional type service. There is also a mass on Christmas Day usually held at 12 noon for those who didn’t make it to the Midnight mass or for those that like to go to both. This way one can get a little rest in between.

If you are in Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic during the holidays try and make it to the service in the First Church in the Americas, Cathedral de Santa Maria in Colonial Zone. This is service is one of the largest and most elaborate in the whole country. Make sure to get there very early or you will be observing from the outside, which is fine also.


A tradition for gift exchange is called Un Angelito/ A Little Angel. All the social classes practice this. All the names of the participants are placed in a sack. Then a name is selected from the bunch. The person whose name you chose is your Angelito. Every week during the Christmas holiday you are to give that person, whose name you chose, a gift. The identity of your Angelito is to be kept secret until the last day of the gift exchange where you must divulge yourself.

Continue Christmas Songs Dominican Style