The Dominican Republic Carnival by Princess Hotels Caribbean

By | 15 February, 2019 | 0 comments

Carnaval Dominicano | Princess Hotels


The Carnaval in the Dominican Republic is one of the most recognized and characteristic parties in this country! When February arrives, everybody knows that the Carnival, comparsas, music and dances are coming!

Its pagan origins are mixed with religious celebration periods. Don’t forget that Carnival is a popular festival that has its roots and celebration in a period prior to Lent.


Dominican Republic Carnival, a double celebration

It’s important to note that at the same time as the Carnival celebration, the Dominican Independence day is also in February. Which means a double celebration. As you can imagine in our Dominican Republic hotels, we have a double celebration of both events!

Dominican people take advantage and mix the two events. In some countries the Carnival dates change but in the Dominican Republic the Carnival dates don’t usually change. There are variants in some regions, so the Carnival and the Dominican Independence Day are celebrated on the same day. In 1844 the Dominican people managed to expel the Haitians, after 22 years occupying the country.


How is the Dominican Republic Carnival Celebrated?

Carnaval Dominicano | Princess Hotels

It’s a colorful celebration that is celebrated with some variants in the different Dominican regions. As we said, there can even be differences in the celebration dates, divided in different weekends between February and March. This fact makes it easier for people to go from one Dominican carnival to another and end up enjoying them all!

The Dominican people fill the streets with music and colors in different comparsas. All the Carnivals are beautiful, but probably the most famous Dominican Republic carnival is in La Vega, closely followed by the Santo Domingo Carnival. We should also highlight the beauty of the Punta Cana Carnival where the best comparsas from around the country meet together.


The Cojuelo Devil, Dominican Republic Carnival

Carnaval Dominicano | Princess Hotels

The devil was an important character in the theatrical performances of Sacramental Autos. It’s represented as the incarnation of evil. However,in 1641 Luis Velez de Guevara wrote the book, the Cojuelo Devil. He described the devil as a jocular and naughty character and not as one that should be feared. This character arrived on the island from the hands of the Spanish people and decided to stay as the symbol of the Dominican Republic carnival. He has been known as “Cajueloa” and he is represented in different ways. In essence, it is about this character that all the celebrations are based on.


Colorful costumes

Carnaval Dominicano | Princess Hotels

We can’t define a unique traditional costume because there are as many as carnivals. But the costumes are characterized with striking masks that attract the eyes of everyone! They are made in a traditional way and with the following materials:

  • Mache paper
  • Fabrics
  • Feathers
  • Newspapers
  • Plant elements: banana leaves, pumpkin…
  • Different decorative elements: sequins, bottle caps, jingle bells…


These masks seek to represent the Cojuelo devil. In some regions apart from the masks they also incorporate whips with which they whip the participants, according to the tradition, to eliminate negative energies.

As well as the striking colorful costumes with capes, bells and many ornamental elements that they find. There are regions where these costumes can be more exuberant and in others much simpler, but all of them seek to be colorful and striking!


Best comparsas in Dominican Republic Carnival

Carnaval Dominicano | Princess Hotels

The Dominican Carnival finds its inspiration and roots in different sources. In addition to its obvious Spanish influences it also has African reminiscences. Here you can see the best comparsas:


San Pedro de Macorís Area

Here we find other curious characters such as “Los Guloyas”. They are groups that dance while representing different scenes. Probably one of the most famous scenes is that of David and Goliath, and people think that this could be the beginning of their name. “Los Guloyas” are easy recognizable by their unique and original dresses: very bright colors, bows, feathers on the head, stones and mirrors, which give joy and rhythm to the celebration.

North island area, in the Cibado

Here the character of “Roba Gallina” appears as, a funny man disguised as a woman. He is running because he is supposed to have stolen a chicken and he is afraid of being punished. The bows, umbrellas, colorful bulky skirts and fun wigs characterize this character.

The La Vega Carnival

As we mentioned the La Vega Carnival is the most famous; it’s one of the oldest and its inhabitants enjoy it very intensely! The Cojuelo devil is represented with very elaborate costumes, that take a long time to make. Of Course they are full of colors, bows, mirrors and whatever decorative element they have on hand. The expressive and full of details masks attract attention and represent a mocking, scary or even impulsive person. If it’s necessary to intensify the effect, they complete the costume with colors and bright accessories.

Cachuas de Cabral Carnival

In this carnival on the south west of the island, the Cojuelo devils are represented by Cachuas, as dancing characters. They go through the town with their bright whips and walk with pride through the streets. The costumes are colorful and original, but not expensive. They are always topped with striking and colorful masks that covers their faces.

Santiago Carnival

In the Santiago Carnival the Cojuevo devil is recognized as “Los Lechones”. The reason for this “they say” is that the masks that cover their faces, looks like a pig’s face (lechon in Spanish means pig). However other people say that it reminds them of a duck with colorful horns. The costume can be made with one or more pieces, colorful and adorned with accessories like bells, ribbons and mirrors.

Punta Cana Carnival

The carnival in Punta Cana, is probably one of the most recent carnivals to join this list. It’s characterized by combining in one place the best comparses, costumes and dancers from around the country. They come to this tourist center so we can all enjoy them without having to travel too far. The streets are filled with music and juggling shows. With beautiful Dominican dancers, feathers, sequins, carriages, musicians and lots of confetti!


Discover the best Carnivals in Mexico here!

As you can see, there are many reasons to come and celebrate Carnival in the Dominican Republic. In Princess Hotels we will bring you the joy of both of them in our particular celebration of Independence Day and Carnival! We blend together lights, colors, dances and sounds! Are you ready?

Categories: Caribbean, Punta Cana

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