La Navidad: Christmas in the Dominican Republic
Celebrations and holidays are a big part of the culture of the Dominican Republic that if the Carnaval is celebrated the whole month of February, La Navidad lasts from October to January. This is a time for exhilarating parties, gathering together family, friends, and relatives, and enjoying life.
In the Dominican Republic, there are many holidays in the year to have a great time. Christmas time is even more delightful. Christmas is a time for big family reunions that airlines are fully booked with Dominicans returning back to their roots and celebrating the holidays in places they call home.
The excitement is continuous and sustained with daily firework display that intensifies as December 25 gets closer and this continues through the New Year.
Dominicans celebrate the event unlike most people probably in the whole world. To do business during this season will not be easy. This is a time for celebration and a celebration it will be with people preoccupied with enjoying other peoples company’s rather than with anything else. Parties are everywhere with whiffs of food and other festive aromas dominating the air. This is festive spirit in abundance. There is nothing like it.
The Big Bang in Action
Children of all ages ignite firecrackers of all types. Small missiles shoot in the air like crazy and people getting out of the way like mad with seldom a word of reprimand. Dominicans are used to these. They, in fact, anticipate this these are excited by all the noise that firecrackers have become synonymous with celebrations. Understandably, a feast without the boom is not complete, the bigger the bang, the bigger the grins on faces.
The Big Meal
In a predominantly Catholic country like the Dominican Republic, Noche Buena is a big part of the celebration. People even in far off areas always make it a point to go home. This is one of those days in the year where the favorite recipes of aunts and mothers are served and enjoyed with visiting relatives. This is feasting at its best.
In most countries, December 25 is the main day to celebrate. In the Dominican Republic, the feasting starts towards the midnight of December 24. December 25 is a day to recover from all the food, if not a day to feast some more.
The center of all the celebration actually is the birth of Jesus Christ that is celebrated in all churches during the midnight of the 24th to the early morning of the 25th in a mass called the ‘Misa de Gallo’. The religious and the pious gather in the church very early.
Expect churches to be overflowing during this day and expect the majority of churchgoers not being able to get inside the church. This is fine as displays and the general atmosphere of the celebration is just as good outside. The Dominican Republic has the first church in the Americas. The Catedral de Santa Maria remains to be the most elaborate and the largest throughout the Republic.