Semana Santa, or Easter, is a meaningful holiday in the Dominican Republic. It is so significant that the celebrations surpass those of Christmas. Since the majority of the Dominican population is Roman Catholic, the days leading up to Semana Santa are spent in prayer and contemplation of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of humanity.
Therefore, if you’re visiting the DR during this period, you’ll notice that the festive spirit gives way to a more solemn mood. You’ll also notice a lot more activity than usual around the towns. Many Dominicans will have the week off from work, while others who live overseas return here to spend time with their families and to join in the religious celebrations. Make sure to book your stay at eXtreme Circus Cabarete early to avoid the rush.
How to celebrate Semana Santa
Dominicans love when visitors immerse themselves in the local culture. If you wish to participate in the Easter celebrations, even if you aren’t religious, the locals will see it as a sign of great respect. This year, Semana Santa will last from April 5 to 11.
You can attend any of the special Mass services during Holy Week, such as Miércoles de Ceniza (Ash Wednesday), Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday), Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday, day of the Last Supper), Viernes Santo (Good Friday), Sábado Santo (Holy Saturday), and Domingo de Resurrección o de Pascua (Resurrection or Easter Sunday). On the night of Sábado Santo, churches will convene with a vigil from 11 p.m. until daybreak to welcome Domingo de Resurrección. It’s a beautiful, meditative period that gives you the chance to go within and connect in a deeper way.
What to eat during the Easter celebrations
It is customary to abstain during Lent, so Dominicans normally give up meat during Holy Week. Expect to see an abundance of seafood and fish dishes on the menu, along with other special items. An example is a scrumptious Dominican potato salad that is always a hit during Semana Santa. It just might become your favourite, too. Also, try our classic Habichuelas con Dulce. It’s a spiced, cold, sweet bean pudding that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Other ways to celebrate
Just because it’s Semana Santa doesn’t mean that our beaches are off limits. Not at all. They tend to be crowded with locals who want to make the most of their time off. However, certain activities, such as the use of motorized sports at our public beaches, won’t be available during the national religious festivities. You can still get your groove on at the beach clubs in Cabarete, starting on Saturday night. If you’re not sure how far you can go to let your hair down without feeling as if you’re not respecting Semana Santa, follow the lead of the locals, and you’ll be fine. Keep in mind that celebrations in Cabarete are much quieter, so if you’re extroverted, you would probably have more fun in other towns in the DR.
Also, stunning parades and processions are a popular feature of Semana Santa, so be sure to check them out. They’re quite impressive!
We hope you’ll make it to the DR to celebrate Semana Santa with us.It’s an experience that’s full of life, love, and laughter, one that you’ll always cherish.