Christmas Traditions in the Dominican Republic
Christmas in the Dominican Republic is a very special holiday. It is full of wonderful traditions and celebrations. The Christmas season begins as early as October and continues to the end of December. It was recently described to me as … “there is a feeling of the Christmas Spirit everywhere in the Dominican Republic – even at work. We go out more with our friends and spend more time with our families”.
Christmas Trees & Santa Clause in Puerto Plata Square
Many of our North American traditions are also celebrated in the Dominican Republic. The Puerto Plata square or ‘La Plaza Independcia‘ at Christmas is absolutely stunning. It is a caribbean christmas wonderland at night with festive holiday decorations and twinkling lights. A tall christmas – tree shines brightly inviting everyone to take pictures or simply enjoy its’ incredible beauty.
Nearby shops, cafes and victorian buildings are also adorned with christmas lighting. Large evergreen wreathes with red bows hang from windows and arches. Children enjoy window shopping while pointing out their favourite toys.
During the week-end there is plenty of music and family christmas events. You will find clowns on stage singing and entertaining the crowds, mickey-mouse balloons and yes – even our favourite guy in the red suit, Santa Clause.
Nativity Scene or “Nacimiento”
The nativity scene is also a Christmas tradition in the Dominican Republic. It represents the birth of Jesus, with the Virgin Mary, Joseph and the Three Wise Men alongside all the animals from the stable. This nativity scene is located at the Puerto Plata Square and was very popular to stop and visit.
What is a Traditional Dominican Christmas Dinner?
Christmas dinner is typically celebrated on December 24th, Christmas Eve or NocheBuena, and leftovers are for December 25th. Christmas is all about plenty of great food shared amongst family and friends.
I asked several of my Dominican friends living in different areas of the country what their favourite dishes were at Christmas and they all answered the same. Roast Pork was number one their list.
- Roast Pork/Puerco Asado or Roast Chicken/Pollo Horneado – One of the most important items on the Christmas menu. Many Dominicans will order their pork ahead of time or directly from the farmer to prepare for Christmas dinner. The pork it typically cooked outside on an open fire giving it all that wonderful flavour.
- Russian Salad or Ensalada Rusa – Cooked potatoes, peas, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, vinegar, onion and mayonnaise. It is delicious! Some recipes will vary.