Semana Santa or Easter in the Dominican Republic begins with Palm Sunday and continues throughout the Holy Week. The three most important days are the following Thursday, Friday (Good Friday) and Saturday (Holy Saturday) for the Dominican Republic’s practicing Christian population.
Semana Santa is recognized as the most significant National holiday in the Dominican Republic. It is actually celebrated more so than Christmas.
Easter is also a spiritual time. Churches are full with those in the Roman Catholic faith to commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Informative article written by DRvisitor on Easter Traditions in Santo Domingo (Capital of Dominican Republic)
During the Holy Week it is a special time for families to get together and celebrate. They will travel to the Dominican’s beautiful beaches and rivers for the day or simply enjoy a family outing. On Good Friday (beginning 12 am to Saturday 12 am) there is typically no music or alcohol sales as it is a day for reflection and respect for the Holy Week. However on Saturday it is full-on party mode.
Recently I was told by a very good friend of ours that when he was younger he would wake up early on Good Friday and pick a palm branch from the garden. Then he and his grandmother would walk in silence to the nearby river where they would wash their palms and then gather water in a container. After they would take the water to their church service to have the water blessed. He said they were wonderful memories of spending Semana Santa with his grandmother and family. He also mentioned that his grandmother would remind him several times to be quiet until after the church service.
Popular Easter Dishes in the Dominican Republic
One of the most popular dishes during the Holy Week is called Habichuelas Con Dulce or Sweet Beans. At first when I heard about this pudding-style dish I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect however it is delicious. It is a mixture of red beans, condensed milk, spices and other ingredients. Small wafer-like or milk cookies are placed on top as a garnish and it is generally served cold. Today while shopping in Puerto Plata’s Jumbo retail store they had a large pot of Sweet Beans in the grocery selection. I have included the recipe in the below link – let me know how you like it.
Other traditions during Holy Week is to refrain from eating meat typically on Good Friday. Fish and seafood are popular as well as a Dominican style pototo salad.
The North American tradition of Easter chocolate bunnies and easter eggs are not very popular in the Dominican Republic except maybe for us expats. Thank you to my sister-in-law for bringing us our favourite Cadbury Easter mini-eggs.
Cabarete & Sosua During Easter – What to Expect
Cabarete and Sosua beaches in the North Coast of the Dominican Republic are very busy during Easter Week and especially true on the weekend (Good Friday will be more subdued). Dominican holidaymakers are enjoying their long Easter weekend with plenty of loud music, dancing, good food and of course a bit of rum. Cabarete beach on the Holy Saturday has live DJ’s and is definitely the party place to live it up.
If planning your caribbean vacation during Easter make sure you have made reservations well in advance as hotels and rental homes are usually completely booked. This week-end in Casa Linda all the rental villas were booked.
The roads are also very busy in Cabarete and Sosua. When driving or walking the beaches you will notice a large presence of police. The National Police help to guide the traffic and to ensure everyone’s safety. Red Cross stations are set-up at main intersections along the highway. Today while driving through Sosua we saw the National Police directing traffic to avoid large delays on the highway as well as keeping pedestrians off the roads.
After Easter week-end the beaches are quiet again and it is a perfect time for a walk on Cabarete Beach or just relaxing at Playa Sosua.
Easter 2019 “The National Police and the Ministry of Defense deployed more than 36,000 agents and soldiers to reinforce security at strategic points in the country during the Easter holiday” – Dominican Today https://dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2019/04/18/operacion-semana-santa-operation-holy-week-kicks-off-with-36000-police-and-military/
Article from Dominican Today – Thousands of bathers pack Puerto Plata beaches on Easter Holiday
Wishing you a Happy Easter & if you are looking for Rich and I….we will be by our pool at home just chilling.
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