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Dominican Republic - Leisure, Entertainment and Sports

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The Dominican culture is the result of a centuries long mixing of native, Spanish and African traditions and folklore. The result can be perceived in religious beliefs, music, cuisine, literature, paintings and all other artistic realizations.


Cuisine

Dominican cuisine is the result of mixing traditional dishes from several cultures and the transformations and adaptations they experienced across the centuries, preserving dishes such as the indigenous cassava bread, which has arrived to our times unchanged in its ingredients and elaboration.

Among the most remarkable dishes are:

- Sancocho: a mix of several kinds of meat, vegetables, tubers cooked with plenty of water to form a thick soup.
- Moro: rice with 'guandules' (pigeon peas).
- Fish in coconut sauce.
- Rice with beans, accompanied with chicken or other meats.
- 'Mondongo': Beef or pork tripe stew.
- Mofongo: Fried, mashed green plantains, mixed with pork cracklings and plenty of garlic. Served accompanied with a chicken soup.
- 'Puerco en puya' Spit roast pork, roasted over a woodfire.
- Cassava bread: Grated yucca cooked on a hot plate. This is a Taino Indian legacy.

Carnival

Carnival celebrations date from the times of the Spanish conquest. At the beginning, it was celebrated during the days previous to Lent. Today, it takes place during February and the first days of March. This is a popular festivity where every town has its own characteristic costume. The most famous are:

- The carnival of Santiago, where the 'lechones' pepineros and joyeros (from the neighborhoods of Los Pepines and La Joya) dance and make their bells jingle and their whips crack on the floor to scare the passersby. There is also the voluptuous 'robalagallina', a man disguised as a fat woman.
- In La Vega, the 'diablos cojuelos' get out of their caves filled with music and animation to parade along the streets and impress everyone with their spectacular costumes.
- In the Puerto Plata carnival, seashells and sea join the ancestors' legacy and become the 'taimacaros.'
- Finally, the Santo Domingo Carnival is a magnificent cultural feast, a melting pot of every city and town in the country where you can appreciate the different traditions and costumes of every one of them, and where the elaborate carriages parade together with the more or less organized groups that together give Carnival its distinct color.

This guide was compiled with the help of Lindsay de Feliz, a British expat blogger living in the Dominican Republic. Visit her blog at yoursaucepans.blogspot.com.


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