Dominican Republic carnival parades kicked off this past Sunday in the major provinces and cities. I attended Puerto Plata’s first parade, held along a small portion of the city’s seafront boulevard.
The set up for the first Puerto Plata Carnival parade was average–with limited stage-front space for viewers to enjoy the show fully, and little time for the participants to dance and show off their costumes. The crowds and participants begin to show up around 2PM, with the event kicking off around 3pm (always remember, Dominican time!). The best part of the day was actually before the event started, talking to the various tribes, and for me–capturing images of their creative costumes, and getting footage of them dancing freely. And getting beers at the Malecon-facing cafes.
Carnival in the DR dates back to the 16th century–and incorporates folklore and history, showcased in unique ways in the various provinces (who compete for a national prize at the end of carnival season). Each province also has its overall carnival identity and name–in Puerto Plata, it’s the Taimascaros–Tai for Taino and mascarao for masks which dominate the >Continue reading »
Merengue tipico–the folkloric and original genre of merengue–is the essence of being Dominican.Or as it’s said in Spanish, “el merengue es la esencia de la dominicanidad.”
Most of us in North America know about merengue and associate it immediately with the Dominican Republic. We have danced and twirled to it at friends’ parties or in nightclubs. Here in the DR, this national music and dance echoes every day across cities and villages in its various forms, from folkloric to modern. It blasts from backyards, supermarkets, or neighborhood colmados (corner store-slash-bars). The instruments, to start–the