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Dominican Republic Holidays – Semana Santa

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Any visitor new to the Dominican Republic will find a b...

Any visitor new to the Dominican Republic will find a bewildering array of celebrations, festivities, holidays, and everything else in between. In fact, in the Dominican Republic, something fun is always happening somewhere every day of the year.

In most of the Catholic world, ‘Semana Santa’ or the Holy Week is a time for reflection, prayer, attrition and silence and other practices that generally encourage the faithful for time of quiet. This traditional practice has been going on for centuries at different degrees of relative silence in different Catholic countries all over.

The Dominican Republic with its own unique way of observing holidays practices, Semana Santa, a high point in Catholic worship, is celebrated in a way that only Dominicans could pull off. The general manner is very respectful, solemn, and prayerful. In fact, every tradition and method of worship is practiced and implemented by the Catholic hierarchy and observed by its people. But then again, why carry a sour countenance when this is the most important day of a people’s salvation? Off to the beaches we go.

As if conditions encourage it, the weather from March to April, the week in which Semana Santa is celebrated, is ideal. For a tropical maritime nation, in fact, there is little choice other than to sulk in a corner. The water is incredibly clear, the weather is warm, there is a lot of sunshine, offices are closed, the food is great, and tourism is at its peak. Except for motorized water equipment and water sports, which the government bans during the season due to past numerous accidents, everything is perfect, which brings us to the only downside of spending Semana Santa in the island.

The beaches are packed, hotels the same. This is the Caribbean Sea and there is just that thing in the Caribbean that lures people from everywhere, in the Dominican Republic, this is more so. To top it, Dominicans love their beaches and the well-heeled can get reservations in the hotels quicker than anybody can. If the idea is to spend Semana Santa in the island, bookings are to be done very early.

Otherwise, spending Semana Santa in the Dominican Republic is by all accounts the most colorful Holy Week anyone could experience. Catholic traditions and celebrations are the same everywhere except that in with the Dominicans, there is a twist. Processions are a tradition in the church anywhere but here, you will get to chase that jerk, Judas. It all starts on a Thursday. People will be dressing up like Jews, centurions and other outlandish colorful fun costume and chase a running man rattling a tin can representing the payoff from selling Jesus. These are all for fun though. The excitement is whether Judas could elude his chasers, (many times he actually does) or not. It is a wild, colorful, and noisy event full of action and excitement.

Of course anyone who tires of that could always have rivers to ford, beaches to get the tan, hills to climb and snorkeling to do.

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