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We’d like to chat about one of the most important weeks in the Dominican Republic: Semana Santa! This Holy Week starts on the 14th of April and ends on the 20th of April, one day before Easter Sunday. Lots of things are happening during this week, and be assured: we’ll definitely keep you updated! But first things first. What is Semana Santa exactly?

Semana Santa in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican people are a huge mix of cultures and ethnical backgrounds, and a huge 95% of Dominicans are Christians, with most of them Catholic. This is why Semana Santa is such an important week in Dominican culture. Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is the annual celebration of the Passion of the Christ in the week leading up to Easter. As per the Catholic tradition, first comes Ash Wednesday/ Miércoles de Ceniza. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday / Domingo de Ramos. Throughout this week, there are many specific masses and a procession. Then on Easter Sunday/ Domingo de Resurrección or Domingo de Pascua, Easter Mass happens at noon.

In many parts of the country, especially areas with Haitian settlements and communities with African backgrounds, gaga drum celebrations are held. These ceremonies come with lots of music and dancing and are both spiritual and magical.

More people

If you’re visiting the Dominican Republic in the time of Semana Santa, it will be a little bit busier in certain places.  The Dominicans spend this time with family, leaving their busy lives behind for some good togetherness. Visiting their old hometowns, or just hanging at the beach, or at a local river. All to make the most of their days off. The churches are full, as people respect the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus or El Senor. As people don’t eat meat during Semana Santa, they eat lots of fresh fish. In particular, bacalhau and a local dish called habichuelas con dulce (sweet beans). But also eating chaca (cracked corn pudding) is a tradition. 

For Semana Santa in Punta Cana, expect beaches full of people. The place will be buzzing with movement and liveliness. We’d recommend you to join in the celebrations and maybe go to a mass, if you’re interested. You will notice that there are a lot Meopec cars on the road. These cars help you out when you have an emergency on the road because it will be busy. To avoid traffic jams, book a place in an area where you can walk around freely and a lot of things are accessible, instead of hitting the road. Or try the guagua or the motoconcho.

Keep checking BOP for the latest info on Semana Santa and rekindle with your family!

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Picture: @neesafamilia Instagram – Habichuelas con dulce