174 years of Dominican Independence! Every year on February 27th, the Dominican Republic celebrates their freedom. For a country that fought for so long to gain their sovereignty, they have now been free for almost two centuries. The Dominican Republic was colonized by Spain in the year 1496 when they set up the first colony in the country’s capital, Santo Domingo. The island was called La Hispañola by Christopher Columbus and the rest of his Spanish crew.
The Dominican Republic’s capital, Santo Domingo, was Spain’s first settlement in the new world. In the 16th century, Hispaniola was the bridge between the Caribbean and mainland America under Spanish rule. As the importance of the island decreased in size in the 17th century, the Spanish were forced to surrender the western part of the island, known today as Haiti to the French in 1697 and the rest of the island a century later in 1795.
On this day in DR or even in places like New York which are heavily populated with Dominicans, they throw parades to show they love their culture. Dominican families throw parties in their house that last what seems like forever. Although they may be a bit different they do the same thing, but in Dominican they do it ten times as big. To celebrate, they throw concerts, march the streets, and have a parade with Dominican flags everywhere. This day shows their cultural identity and creativity.
Some other things Dominicans do on this day is commemorate Los Padres de la Patria, which translates to Founding Fathers. “We go to where their body lay, walk around their graves. We then would go to a church and they would be educated on what the founding fathers did for them and then they would pray and thank them.” I got this information first–hand from Maryed, senior, who experienced this as she lived there until 8th grade.
On Dominican Independence Day, people also listen to the President of the Dominican Republic give a speech. His speech is transmitted through all types of social media so it is hard to miss.