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Dominican Republic Independence Day

by Vishal Kumar

Dominican Republic Independence Day is celebrated on 27th February with parades and traditional music across all the provinces. In Santo Domingo the famous event takes place with a military parade along Malecon boulevard.

Declaration of Independence

The country of Dominican Republic is the second largest in the Caribbean region, occupying the island of Hispaniola.

The country was colonized by the Spaniards and it won its independence on 27 February 1844. Since then, the day of 27 February is celebrated as the National Day of the country with a lot of enthusiasm.


The area of Dominican Republic was settled by the Taino Indians. It became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. It was visited by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and in 1496, Bartholomew Columbus founded the city of Santo Domingo which served as capital for the Spanish colonies in the region. Plantation economy was established here and the native Indian population almost died out completely over the course of next century.

During the seventeenth century, French influence grew stronger in this area. In 1795, Spain ceded Santo Domingo to France. In 1808, the criollos of Santo Domingo revolted, and with the help of Haiti, reestablished the control of Spain. In 1821, lieutenant governor Jose Nunez de Caceres declared Santo Domingo to be independent of Spanish rule. However, it was occupied by Haiti in 1822. Gradually, discontent grew up against the Haitian rule. In 1838, Juan Pablo Duarte formed a secret society named La Trinitaria. The aim was to win independence without any foreign intervention. Duarte along with Ramon Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sanchez are regarded as the founders of modern Dominican Republic. On 27 February 1844, members of this society declared independence from Haiti. However, the country faced repeated invasions from Haiti as well as internal problems. It even briefly returned to the status of a colony of Spain. With the intervention of USA, the position was slightly stabilized though political strife continued for a long time. But, today, Dominican Republic celebrates 27 February as its independence day.

Songs:The national anthem of the Dominican Republic is Quisqueyanos Valientes. It is written by Emilio Prud’ Homme and the music is composed by Jose Rufino Reyes Siancas. The song was first performed in 1883, but objections were cited to the lyrics as they had historical inaccuracies. They were revised and resubmitted in 1897. Due to political disorder, it was on 30 May 1934 when the song Himno Nacional was formally adopted as the national anthem.

The song is written in Spanish. No official translation in English or any other languages have been enacted by law.

Celebration- The National Day is a huge event in Dominican Republic. The carnival is also celebrated at the same time so that it turns into a big party, which is awaited by people throughout the year. A large parade is organized and thousands of people visit the capital of Santo Domingo to take part in the festivities. The festivities generally start with a tribute to Duarte and the other founding fathers. The President of the country gives a speech which is broadcast by the media. The Dominican flag is displayed on houses and are also carried by the people visiting the parade as a mark of respect. Since the carnival is also celebrated at this time, you can also see Diablos Cojuelos, though they have nothing to do with independence celebrations.

Customs-Several customs are associated with the National Day of Dominican Republic. Though the day falls a day before lent, special dispensation is given to people so that they can eat meat and take part in other activities which are otherwise prohibited in that period. Traditional foods are eaten and coconut fish is the traditional dish of choice. The people also wear traditional costumes which are associated with their religious customs and traditional characters. They also wear masks sometimes. The national anthem is performed at the ceremonies with great respect.

Facts:Though the Independence Day commemorates 27 February 1844, the country was repeatedly occupied by different powers in later years too. It was only after the occupation by the US Marines from 1916 to 1924 that the political turmoil subsided to some extent. In addition to the Independence Day, the Duarte day is celebrated on 26 January to honor the founder and is also a public holiday.

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