Exploring Dominican Culture

The Dominican Republic has a variety of landscapes, from deserts to alpine forests in the central mountains. Discover the highest mountain and deepest valley in the Caribbean, as well as rainforests, deserts, and white sand beaches! Dominican culture is a mixture of the cultures of Spaniard colonists, African slaves, and Taíno natives. European, African, and Taíno cultural elements are most prominent in Dominican food, family structure, religion, and music.

Dominicans are welcoming people with a great sense of humor who are happy to share all the things they consider to be muy dominicano. Dominicans are very fond of dancing to merengue and bachata. Merengue is the musical genre most often associated with the Dominican Republic and has been part of the Dominican musical repertoire since the mid-19th century. Dominicans often go out to dance or organize parties in their homes, where dancing is the main activity.

Study abroad in the Dominican Republic Host a Dominican student in the U.S.

Dominican People

Most Dominicans consider the family to be the basic element of society. Families are very close, and they stay close. It is not unusual to find grandparents living at home, fully integrated in the life of the family. Many young people stay living with their parents, even after entering college or becoming financially independent. They usually will not leave the home until they get married, and even then, they will try to remain close to their parents geographically.

Dominican families tend to be conservative, caring, and protective.  Parents have to know their children’s friends before letting them go out and parents will expect their children to ask for their authorization before going out. It is not common for children to receive house keys. Most of the time when they go out at night parents wait up for them to return home.

Language in the Dominican Republic

Kids in the Dominican Republic

The main language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish.

Dominican Food

Callaloo in the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, fresh fish such as tuna, marlin, and ballyhoo are plentiful. Minnow-sized fish, titeri are prepared in a spicy stew. Another popular stew, callaloo, is made with taro leaves and fresh vegetables. Common food seasonings include garlic and spicy peppers.

A Traditional Dominican breakfast or dinner dish is called mangú, a savory puree made of mashed plantains, yucca or auyama, and traditionally served with fried red onions, fried white cheese, eggs or salami. For lunch, Dominicans often eat la Bandera Dominicana (the Dominican Flag) which consists of white rice, bean stew (black, red or white) and meat.

Seasonal fruits include mango, passion fruit, sugar apple, star apple, guineps (a small, round fruit with jelly-like flesh), guava, limes, pawpaw (papaya), tamarind, oranges, grapefruit, and watermelon. In Dominican culture, bananas and plantains are eaten all throughout the year.