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There are a wide array of festivals and events in the DR. There seem to be several Dominican Republic holidays celebrating national independence or the like. With each town holding its own carnival and saints day, there are Dominican Republic festivals at almost any time of year.
The most important of the Dominican Republic holidays for locals is Christmas. This is a time to be around your family, though the natural friendliness of the Dominican people will come out at this time too. Expect invites out from your Dominican friends on Christmas Eve night, after the family dinner. New Years Eve is also a family celebration in the DR, as is the 12th day of Christmas, Three Kings Day (January 6th, although often recognized on a nearby Monday or Friday), which was traditionally the main gift giving day for Dominicans.
The biggest of the national Dominican Republic holidays takes place on February 27th and celebrates the 1844 independence from Haiti. This culminates in a military parade down the Santo Domingo Malecon. There are also similar, though smaller, Dominican Republic holidays on August 16, celebrating independence from Spain, and January 26, celebrating Duarte Day.
The best Dominican Republic festivals for visitors are the town-specific carnival celebrations, generally in February or early March. The largest of these lively Dominican Republic events is held in Santo Domingo, though those in Punta Cana and other tourist hotspots are also worth viewing. The main Sunday parade is preceded by over a week of related celebrations.
Easter’s holy week (Semana Santa), is the most important of religious times in the Dominican Republic, though many locals just treat it as an excuse to go to the beach. Look for celebrations by Haitians living in the country. The other major period for Dominican Republic festivals is in autumn, when towns across the nation hold harvest festivals.
Other times to look at when planning your Dominican vacation are the winter baseball season, from October to February, and the Samana whale watching season, from mid-January to mid-March.
Go to the DR’s tourism site, for a calendar of more Dominican Republic events and festivals:
OVERVIEW for your visit to the Dominican Republic:
introduction * when to go * things to do * events * getting there * getting around * food * history * attractions * music * cities * hotels