The Dominican Republic Culture has its origin in a combination of Spaniard, African and Taino ancestry. The Dominican Republic was the earliest Spanish settlement in the New World. Unfortunately the diseases involuntarily carried out by the Spanish people previously unfamiliar to the native populace wiped out a vast number of Taino Indians lived on the island. After that incident the colonizers started to import a huge number of African slaves to substitute the natives.
The region was named as Hispaniola earlier. The residents were facing authoritarianism by the Spaniards. After many ups and downs, Juan Pablo Duarte, the leader of the Dominican freedom movement, went into Santo Domingo on 27 February 1844, and announced the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola a sovereign nation named Dominican Republic.
In Dominican Republic the difference could be seen in class and education of different groups. The Spaniards are the rich privileged elites including Italians and French populace. The lower class includes the Mulattoes of African descent mainly. With changing pace of life, the lifestyle of upper class and middle class is compared with that of the western countries of Europe and the United States. But the poorest people are still far away from basic facilities such as water, electricity and sanitary amenities.
Lunch is the main meal of the day for people of Dominican Republic. One of the popular dishes is La bandera (the flag). As the white rice and red beans remind of the colors of the flag the item has been named as flag. Another well-liked item is stewed meat served with fried plantain and salad. Sancocho (meat, plantain, and vegetable stew)is also liked by most of the people in the country. Food is not spicy in Dominican Republic.
Other materials used to prepare food in the country are:
Normally people like to dine outside and grilled meat or tostones sold by the street vendors is delicious. Hotel Lina in Dominican Republic has been rated as one of the ten best restaurants throughout the world.
On festive occasions like Christmas and Easter, roasted pig, pigeon peas, boiled chestnuts and fish are usually served.
The clothing of Dominican Republic is quite similar to the summer dress of Americans. They prefer to wear cool and casual dresses and in certain occasion they wear formal attires. For example while attending a religious function in the church the dress is supposed to be conservative and at lunch and dinner, men come in trousers and women in dresses. Like Americans, most of the times Dominicans wear Sandals, T-shirts, skirt, light jackets and sweaters.
In Dominican Republic the style of worship is not that much formal as of the Catholic Church and it stresses more on family transformation, biblical wisdom, and economic sovereignty. Though there are dissimilarities in belief and judgment among religious groups, they hardly raise any conflict.
The people along the border of Haiti practice voodoo, a set of underground religious practices, secretly. The African slaves from the Dahomey area first started the Voodoo. The practitioners of voodoo believe in one God. As per their belief, a protector spirit is there for every person and that spirit provides that particular person with wealth for noble deeds and at times punishes him or her with ill health. Nature spirits supervise the peripheral world. The souls of the dead ancestors are known as the ancestral spirits and they protect the family members if remembered properly with interment and memorials. But some of the Dominicans do not prefer voodoo.
During folk practices, an elderly woman performs the ensalmo, the healing chant. Very few people are skilled in using herbs and other natural substances for curing. They are known as the witch doctors. People believe that they have the power of sending the evil spirits away.
The following are some of the events celebrated by the people of Dominican Republic throughout the year: