Christmas is 3 days away and everything is ready for a big joyful celebration. And we’re continuing our series of Christmas blog posts. Don’t forget to check our previous posts about 10 important Christmas symbols and 10 creative Christmas tree ideas in the Dominican Republic. Today we would like to explore how Dominicans actually celebrate Christmas.
First of all, there are no long Christmas holidays in the Dominican Republic. The only official day-off is December 25. Even on December 24th people work till noon. After the lunch everyone leaves to be able to prepare the Christmas dinner, go to other towns and countryside and reunite with their families. Nevertheless, the truth is there are companies that do organize Christmas holidays for their employees. Those normally are lawyers and doctors offices, architectural bureaus, design firms and alike.
Secondly, Christmas is a family holiday. Normally Dominican extended families get together for Christmas in the grandparents house. They don’t usually party or go out. On the contrary, the Christmas celebrations are very tranquil and peaceful. The Christmas dinner takes place on December 24 and gifts are exchanged in the morning of December 25.
As big family groups get together, it becomes a bit challenging for the host to prepare a dinner. That’s why some families prefer to stay in an all-inclusive hotel where everything will be taken care of for them. This cultural concept has a funny name pal risor which literally means ‘to a resort’.
Another option for Christmas celebrations is to go to restaurants. But this option is mainly available in tourist areas. Because most of the restaurants in Santo Domingo are closed for the Christmas night. Whereas restaurants in Sosua, Cabarete, Las Terrenas and Punta Cana compete for the best Christmas menu.
What is Dominican Christmas food?
Whether it’s in a resort, restaurant or parents’ house, there is a number of must-have Christmas dishes that you’ll find on any table. Thus the typical Dominican Christmas dinner can’t do without:
- Roasted pork aka Puerco asado which is normally prepared on a stick. You may have seen our picture from the Sosua beach when several pigs were roasted at the same time. If not, here is the link.
- Roasted chicken or pavo aka Pollo o pavo asado for those who would like something lighter than pork.
- Rice and green peas with coconut aka Arroz con guandules en coco to accompany the pork or chicken.
- Russian salad aka Ensalada rusa which got its name only because of big amount of potatoes used in the recipe. Any Russian would confirm that this salad isn’t consumed in this modification in Russia. Because the main ingredient, meat or salami, is missing.
- Chicken and plantain mass wrapped in banana leaves aka pasteles en hoja.
- Patties of yuca aka empanadas de yuca with different stuffings to suit any taste: meat, chicken, cheese.
- Long bread aka telera which looks like a French baguette bread but is a bit tougher and heavier in terms of digestion.
- Grapes, apples, nuts and other sweats that you normally get at Christmas fruit markets.
- Eggnog aka Ponche is absolutely necessary after such a sumptuous feast to help your stomach. It’s traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, whipped eggs and brandy, rum or bourbon.
To conclude, Christmas in the Dominican Republic is a big day to eat a lot and spend time with family. If you’re looking for a good restaurant in Sosua or Cabarete to have the typical Dominican Christmas dinner, check our Facebook page. We’ve just posted an overview of the best menus to celebrate Christmas 2018.