Easter Eggs & Bunnies? Not Really…
Easter (Semana Santa) in Dominican Republic, is the biggest, most celebrated holiday all year. Christmas pales in comparison to the “event” that is Easter. Most of the population on the island is Catholic, so Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday is a time for reflection and prayer. The churches are full as people respect the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus or El Senor. Most people go home, wherever this may be, just to hang with family and friends or just to visit the old hometown. Good Friday is known as a time of quiet and is the calm before the storm…motorsports are limited and loud music frowned on.
The Ministry of Interior and Police prohibits the sale of alcohol near and on beaches, rivers and public places from noon on Easter Friday, to noon on Easter Saturday. The ban is imposed as part of a religious tradition and primarily to prevent accidents. Also banned over the Friday-Saturday period is the placement of inflatable pools near places where alcoholic beverages are sold. Likewise loud music blaring out of vehicles or public places is prohibited.
After midnight however, all bets are off and the party starts!
On the north coast, hotels and rental houses/condos are all full during the holiday. Roads are busy and beaches are packed, when usually our beaches are very sparsely populated. By next weekend, all of this area, but particularly Cabarete will be full of Dominicans from all over the country. Police and military personnel will be very prevalent along the roadways making sure people are not drinking and driving and obeying traffic laws (although down here this is always a little iffy).
During the day, families will stake out a picnic spot on local beaches. At night, several stages will blast music and people will dance till the wee hours. Restaurants will be full of Dominican families enjoying a long weekend and time together. For us “gringos” or foreigners, we like to sit back and watch the fun, but we also try to stay off the roads at night! I’m Canadian, and for me Easter is more of either a religious time or about eggs and chocolate. Here, it’s a very different experience.
So far I’ve not seen any evidence of an Easter Bunny here in the DR…although I think on the beach there will be a few pink elephants seen…
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