National Dominican Republic Holidays

Dominican Republic has no shortage of holidays. From regional fiestas patronales to national public holidays, this country boasts of a barrage of celebrations and festivities all year round. There are hundreds of holidays celebrated around the country, with each town or municipality contributing their own. But, the country, as a whole, observes only a handful of public holidays.

New Year’s Day – January 1
The Dominicans join the entire world in celebrating the passing of a year and welcoming the coming of a new one. Having a penchant for fun, feasts, and festivities, the Dominicans celebrate New Year in a manner unseen in the rest of the world.

Dominicans attach a lot of beliefs in New Year. Among the most prominent is their strong belief that it brings renewal to every aspect of their lives. They take pains to clean, and even repaint, their houses so as to invite good blessings. As the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, doors and windows are opened to invite good luck.

Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day – January 6
Being predominantly Catholic, Dominicans observe the Epiphany with festive feasts. This day marks the visitation of the Biblical Magi (otherwise known as the Three Kings and the Three Wise Men) to Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Our Lady of Altagracia – January 21
Known in many different names like Our Lady of High Grace, Our Lady of Grace, and Virgen de la Altagracia, the Our Lady of Altagracia is a special day for the Dominican Republic as it commemorates the Protector and Queen of the Hearts of the Dominican People. It is celebrated every January 21 with vigils, mass and other church services, and of course, festivals. Central to the celebration is the more than 500-year old miraculous portrait of Our Lady.

Duarte’s Birthday – January 26
The Dominican Republic has a long history of occupation by Spanish and Haitian rulers. Among the heroes who opposed outside rule was one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic, Juan Palo Duarte. In commemoration of his heroic deeds, the country celebrates the date of his birth every year.

Independence Day – February 27
Revolutions against tyrannical Spanish and Haitian rulers were attempted throughout Dominican Republic’s history. It was only on February 27, 1844 when the then Dominican leaders succeeded to overthrow the Haitian government.

Good Friday – April
Like other Catholic countries, the Dominican Republic observes the ‘Semana Santa’ or the Holy Week. Particularly for Dominicans, Good Friday, the day when Jesus Christ died on the Cross, is commemorated although the entire week is dedicated for the Lenten season.

Labour Day – May 1
Labour Day is a secular celebration observed in the Dominican Republic on May 1. On this day, most business establishments and schools are closed.

Corpus Christi – June (Thursday)
60 days after Easter, Dominicans celebrate the Corpus Christi or the feast that commemorates the institution of the Eucharist or the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Restoration Day – August 16
Or D’a de Restauracion, commemorates the country’s third independence. Although they won their independence in 1844, they were again occupied by Spanish forces in 1861. In 1863, militia forces gained victory over Spanish forces, thus leading to their liberation in 1863.

Our Lady of las Mercedes – September 24
The patron saint of the Dominican Republic, Our Lady of Mercy, has been celebrated in the country for the last 390 plus years. It is a non-working national holiday.

Constitution Day – November 6
The country first adopted its constitution on the 6th of November, 1844. This day is celebrated on the 6th of November.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – December 24 and 25
Christmas is celebrated in the Dominican Republic from the beginning of December to January 6, although proper celebrations are held only on the 24th – when families gather for the Christmas dinner – and 25th.