DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – FEB. 10, 2011 – Every winter season thousands of visitors flock to the Dominican Republic (DR) to escape the arctic air of the north and unwind at luxurious hotels and resorts on the DR’s sunny, pristine beaches. The DR also invites visitors to participate in the unique Dominican carnival experience. Each February and early March, more than 100,000 people gather from around the world to experience Dominican popular culture through carnival’s vibrant costumes, intricate masks and parades at festivals held throughout the country.
Locals and Visitors Embrace DR Culture as they Celebrate Carnival
“Dominican carnival is an ideal festival, unlike any other, because it embodies our deep sense of hospitality and graciousness, as well as passion for design, love of the arts and zest for life ingrained in all that we do in the DR,” said the Ministry of Tourism’s Vice Minister of International Promotion, Magaly Toribio. “During Dominican carnival season festivals, history, art, music and culture combine to vibrantly express Dominican spontaneity and creativity with enchanting and outrageous costumes, dances and masks.”
Celebrations and costumes vary according to different DR regions; however, most feature mass groups of colorfully costumed participants parading down streets, embellished floats, dance groups, chants and crowd-interaction. One of the most well-known costumes in the parade is “El diablo cojuelo,” a devil. Celebrators may drape their vibrant costumes with mirrors, rattles, ribbons and bells. The masks are created by “careteros” out of paper mache, feathers, painted gourds, plantain leaves, jute and recycled materials, and are then decorated with satin and taffeta, or small mirrors, bells, ribbons, whistles and tiny dolls.
Well-known DR carnival destinations include the cities of Puerto Plata, Rio San Juan, Constanza, Montecristi, Samaná, Higuey, La Romana, and Santo Domingo; however, the towns of Santiago and La Vega traditionally hold the largest celebrations and display some of the most innovative masks. Santiago commences carnival celebrations with an organized mask-making competition between local artisans, while La Vega holds two different types of celebrations; popular carnival and social carnival, in order to accommodate thousands of celebrators who come from around the globe to participate in La Vega’s celebration.
Carnival is a joyous pre-Lenten custom celebrated in February, peaking around February 27th, Dominican Independence Day, with some final parades taking place in early March. The cultural celebration draws influences from Europe and Africa, and dates back to 1520 during the colonial period when the festivals were used as an escape from pressures of religious tradition. For more information, please visit the DR Ministry of Tourism’s official website and event calendar at: www.GoDominicanRepublic.com/pages/calendar.
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The Dominican Republic’s first tourist was Christopher Columbus in 1492. Rich in history, the DR has developed into a diverse destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to more than one million U.S. visitors each year. Named #1 Golf Destination in Caribbean & Latin America by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, the DR boasts 25 designer golf courses, upscale resorts, pristine nature, and sophisticated cities and quaint villages filled with warm Dominican people. The DR features the best beaches, fascinating history and culture, and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families alike. Visit the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official website at: www.GoDominicanRepublic.com.
For more information, contact:
BVK Public Relations for DR Ministry of Tourism
Vanessa Welter: (414)247-3803 or firstname.lastname@example.org