A reason to celebrate: Dominican Independence Day!
Today, Dominicans around the world will be celebrating in commemoration of the 168th anniversary of Dominican Republic's independence. In states across America, people are honoring the day by raising the Dominican flag and attending local fairs. And in the Dominican Republic itself, the holiday is marked with the nation's most colorful festival of the year. Here at MamásLatinas, we're celebrating by passing on some more great Dominican history. Enjoy!
- The Dominican Republic first gained its independence from Haitain rule in 1844.
- In the Dominican Republic, Dominican Independence Day coincides with Carnival, which is celebrated the entire month of February with parades, competitions, and spirited events.
- It is thought that the Dominican Republic was the first place in the Americas to observe the pre-Lenten carnival custom. The celebrations became an escape of the pressures and rigidity of religious tradition. By the late 1700's Carnival had become a major celebration.
- The colors and shapes used in the national flag symbolize patriotism and national pride. The flag has a large white cross, a symbol of salvation, that divides it into four quarters. Two quarters are red and two are blue. The blue sections represent liberty while the red symbolize the blood of the heroes who died to preserve it.
- Dominicans pride themselves on the purity of their Spanish and it is considered by some to be the most classical Castilian spoken in Latin America.
- Public education is provided through the high-school level at no cost except for the school uniform and books.
- The oldest public university in the New World was built by the Spanish in 1588, and the University of Santo Domingo is its descendant.
- Dominican-Americans are the fastest-growing Latino population in New York City and are "on track to become the largest Latino group in New York City," according to the Latino Project at CUNY.
- The Dominican Republic is among the fastest-growing economies in Latin America. Even though the gross domestic product (GDP) tripled in the last generation, 70 percent of the people are affected by poverty and unemployment is high.
- According to the CIA World Factbook, in July 2010, the Dominican Republic had more than 9 million people!
Happy Dominican Independence Day, all!
Will you be celebrating the holiday today?