In the last few years, the Dominican Republic has become a popular travel destination. Yet, people still don’t know much about the vibrant culture that stems from this magical island.
If you don’t know where the Dominican is, it’s located in the Hispaniola island next door to Haiti.
It’s the oldest country in the Americas and was the first place Christopher Columbus reached in 1492. The capital city of Santo Domingo was the first in North and South America, boasting the first cathedral, hospital and university.
To learn more about Dominican culture, follow along for five interesting facts!
The Dominican Protects Some Of The World’s Most Exotic Animals
Santo Domingo was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO back in 1990. Saona Island is one of the most breathtaking spots in the country, which is why it’s part of a government-protected nature reserve.
With hundreds of different species inhabiting the island, Dominicans fiercely ensure the animals are not disturbed. For animal lovers, the island is home to several types of turtle, exotic birds like parakeets, numerous reptiles such as iguanas, and the more rare manatees or rhinoceros.
Dolphins also reside here, and Humpback whales come to mate between December to March at the Bay of Samana.
Etiquette is of high importance in the Dominican and people strive to be polite, well-dressed and well-mannered at all times as a sign of respect.
Dominicans believe in maintaining their appearance and often see the clothes people wear as a status symbol and a sign of confidence and high self-esteem. It’s important to dress well when you’re invited anywhere regardless of the occasion, even if you’re just going to someone’s house for an informal meal or drink.
When you visit or stay with someone, they will go out of their way to cater to your every need. While Dominicans are relatively punctual, being on-time is considered early, but being 15-30 later than the proposed meeting time is thought to be on time!
It is customary to bring a gift to someone’s house if you’re visiting or staying with them. Avoid gifts that are black or purple as these are considered mourning colors.
Gifts are opened upon receipt and are sometimes given during or at the end of business transactions, although it is seen as impolite or suspicious to give a gift to a business associate after a project has ended.
Supporters of the Arts
Dominicans are big advocates of the Arts, with numerous schools and cultural points of interest held in high regard and many events, festivals and celebrations taking place all year round to revel in the country’s strong cultural history and support modern work and creatives.
Folk arts provide a cottage industry, and you can see many terracotta figurines being sold in markets at Christmas time depicting the nativity with over 80% of the population being of Roman Catholic beliefs.
Dominicans are passionate about music and dancing. Merengue, a style of music born in the country with influences from the African tom-tom beat, Spanish guitar and Spanish Salsa is highly popular. You can hear performers playing a variation of this on many a street corner.
Marriage and family Life
Family forms the basis of all stability in Dominican culture. Your social network derives from here, and you’re expected to put the needs of your family above your social and professional life and even your own where marriage is concerned.
Where possible family will live together, or at least in the same vicinity and this usually spans up to three generations. The oldest male is the decision maker when it comes to any matter concerning the extended family. Nepotism is actively encouraged, with many parents wanting their children to continue family trades, businesses or work in the same industry.
The Dominican Republic is a destination that really does belong on your bucket list, but one thing you certainly don’t want is to be caught short financially while visiting.
If this happens you can always look to friends and family for a cash transfer to see you through until you return home, and the most effective way of carrying this out is via Ria Money Transfer. Our rates and service is second to none. Get in touch today for more details!