February’s here and with it, the coveted Sundays that wrap surround the magic of the Dominican Carnival. Thousands of people throughout the country go walking around amongst ‘vejigazos’ (slams of balloon pouches made out of cow’s bladder), hobble devils (called ‘Diablos Cojuelos’), merengues and bachatas.
The development living in Punta Cana for the last years is a reality, the growth of new shopping centers and others having their history, the expansion of recreational areas; a life begins outside the hotels, an atmosphere is breathed, which is very positive for our tourism.
Each country has its own way of celebrating Christmas; however the Dominican Republic has very distinct characteristics and differences compared to other neighboring countries.
The flag event is a custom whose military origins remain in all schools and colleges of the country.
The emperor Moctezumba extoled it like one of the most exquisite delicacies of the Aztecs. He appreciated it so much that the most precious tributes he received from other peoples were cocoa almonds.
In Rotterdam, Holland, it has become fashionable among the purely European public. Crusty and tasty pork skin and fat that are fried at high temperatures to turn into cracklings.
Legends are part of our oral traditions, who we are. Santo Domingo, as the fi rst city of the New World, has several stories that revolve around the Colonial City. One of them tells about the man “El Tapado”.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recently declared merengue as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This achievement has filled with joy the Dominican nation and singers performing this musical genre.
According to experts, the sancocho or stew is a dish that has its origin in the Canary Islands, and was brought into the Dominican Republic by the first immigration from this Spanish archipelago.
The majority of the Dominican Republic enjoys a humid tropical climate. This means high temperatures and heavy rains the same as the whole Caribbean Region.
There are traditions that are practically in the DNA of many people, especially in rural areas, that apart from population it is difficult to understand. Therefore it remains as part of the idiosyncrasy of a people and perhaps it becomes the last vestiges of millenarian customs.
The famous “fritangas” (fried foods) are an inherent part of Dominican culture. We have developed the ability to pass any food through boiling oil: potatoes, yucca, sweet potato, pork rinds, beef and of course chicken.
Fantastic living beings born of the union of different extinct indigenous cultures and Spanish settlers, they are called “Operito”. They belong to their own mythology, yet with some specific attributes. According to the tradition, it is a being with a juvenile, yet complex physique, straight gray hair, bulging eyes, rounded chin and a very sharp belly, but with no navel.
In the Colonial Zone, at Don Francisco Billini Square, the elders still tell to the youngest that the name of this popular leisure space was in honor of Father Billini, a priest who had dedicated his life to Dominican society. It is an emblem of the gratitude from those who were benefited from the good will of this cleric and on the other hand, from those who honored their service and dedication to others.
Candy's funniest face
In the Old World, what today we know as a cookie, was a flat and thin wafer, hard, square and cooked. Its origin dates back to around III BC in Rome, where it was known as a thin biscuit: "bis coctum" in Latin, which means "twice cooked" as an allusion to its low humidity compared to bread or cakes. To make them soft, Romans used to dip them in wine.
On the Duarte highway, that goes north of the island, getting through the heart of Cibao, the central region of the country, we find in the landscape on both sides of this road, colorful carpets sold in makeshift stalls. Called "pellizas" which can be found almost at the entrance to the community of Piedra Blanca at the municipality of Bonao, provoke attention and sometimes it is mandatory to take some pictures, know how they are made off and why not to buy some.
The ancient habitants of the island, known as Tainos, divided the territory under a smart geopolitical and social structure, based on the different areas of cultivation and management in different communities. It was a society that put in value the importance of Mother Nature and the relationship between astronomy and the flora and fauna.