Dominican Culture An Overview

The Dominican Republic is unique from all other Latin American nations
in part because it’s heritage relates to Haitian cultural traditions rather
than solely Spanish ones, much like the rest of Latin America (Brown &
Standish, 1999).In fact, the Dominican Republic received its independence
from Haiti not Spain (Brown & Standish, 1999). This is not to say that
Spanish colonial influences are not evident in the country; in fact they
are widespread, particularly within the realm of architectural structures
The official religion of the Dominican Republic is Roman Catholicism
(Brown & Standish, 1999:69). More than 90% of the citizens living in this
country are Roman Catholic.There are other religions prevalent in the
country however including Protestantism and the traditional religious
system of native Taino Indians, who practice cohoba religious ceremonies
and also Gaga, which is the Dominican version of voodooism (Brown &
Standish, 1999).For this reason some cultural aspects of the religion are
seen by outsiders asevil’ or foreign, because they are largely
Customs in the Dominican Republic are though to originate in part from
the Cibao area, settled back in colonial times (Brown & Standish, 1999).
This area brings with it many native traditions including traditional foods
consumed within the Dominican Republic, discussed below.
Common foods include coffee, hot cocoa, ham and cheese, fruit, papaya
and friend eggs (Brown & Standish, 1999).These may be served at any time
of day.Common desserts served include sweetened fruit compotes generally
made with fruits such as guava and pineapple (Brown & Standish, 1999).One
popular dish served on special occasions is called sancocho, and is a stew
that is made of root vegetables and meats including pork, sausage, goat,
chicken and bacon, flavored with a spice called malegueta (Brown &

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