Easter in Punta Cana is a major event. Easter Week, or Semana Santa as it is known throughout Spanish-speaking countries, is probably one of the most important Latin American holiday celebrations. With a strong Catholic heritage, this is no different in the Dominican Republic.
Here are five facts to know about Easter in Punta Cana:
#1 You’ll Find Some Good Eats
Easter is a good time for coming together with family and friends. It also happens to be a great time to eat. Sweet cream of beans or Habichuelas con dulce is a delicious dessert typical of this time of year in the Dominican Republic. Generally, each family makes their own large portions and then shares those large portions with their neighbors. It is one of the Dominican Republic’s most distinctive deserts and is loved—and devoured—by all during Easter Week.
If you’re celebrating Easter in Punta Cana, make sure you get your fix of Habichuelas con dulce! If not, here’s a great recipe!
#2 Most Dominicans Try to Escape to the Beach, Too
As an official national holiday, many Dominicans take advantage of the free time to visit their families in other towns or to make an escape to the beach, especially in and around Punta Cana. This also happens to be when it’s the hottest and driest all year. As a result, the beautiful beaches and flowing rivers of the Dominican Republic are filled with happily frolicking families and friends looking to enjoy themselves while they escape the heat.
#3 Meat Is Out
Many churches realize theater pieces to commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and many representations of Christ are carried throughout the streets in religious processions.
Also, Catholic tradition prohibits eat meat during this period. So meat is out. As a result, being an overwhelmingly Catholic nation, many people in the Dominican Republic change their diet. Like at the family dinner tables, most hotels will also serve heavy doses of fish, seafood and vegetables during Easter in Punta Cana.
#4 But Street Pools Are In!
What better way to beat the heat for those who can’t make it to the beach than putting a pool outside your front door and inviting all your friends! Yes, street pools! In cities like Santo Domingo and Santiago you will find many streets adorned with inflatable swimming pools filled with cool water and happily splashing children.
#5 The Dominican Republic’s Patron Saint Resides in Higüey
Known as the Basilica of Higüey, this Cathedral located in the bustling city of Higüey is visited by thousands of devote Catholic faithful each year during Easter celebrations. And rightly so, as it is considered to be the Dominican Republic’s most important religious monument. In fact, it is the site of reverence to the Virgin of Altagracia, considered to the spiritual protector of the Dominican people.
Just a 50 minute drive from Punta Cana, you can arrange for private transportation to witness this annual pilgrimage and afterwards visit other sites, take some time out to go shopping or go on a fun tour!
Have you ever witnessed Easter celebrations in another country? Tell us about your experience!