Native Dominicans are a true mixture of African, European and Indian origin. Due to this, as you may understand, we are heirs of their customs and culture, making of us real special creatures!!
This heritage is present in our daily behaviour, attitude, beliefs, feelings, etc. and this is remarkable, for example, we are very noisy, the average Dominican, speak loudly, we are very outgoing, you ask a question no matter where you are to one person and you’ll have answers from all those who heard the question and feel the need to reply too!! Dominicans are always ready to celebrate whatever occasion with a party or a get together and everybody will happily cooperate with drinks, snacks, ice, music, etc.!
In the Dominican Republic most people are catholics, followed by Christian evangelists and many other believers of other religions! There is also the Dominican voodoo, introduced by the African slaves, and some influence of the Taino religion! All this mix of races and religions can be observed in different religious celebrations!
For example, in the rural area, when somebody dies, he will be buried in one of his favorite or best clothes, the family will hire women, who will be in charge of crying during the funeral to give the impression that the deceased was a good person! A delicious cup of hot coffee, food and soft drinks will be served to visitors, who will be talking and telling stories, of the person who has passed away, remembering of course only the good side of his life.
There will be nine days of prayers in the house of the departed soul; a table with a white cloth, with pictures of some saints and flowers, is placed in a room, where family and friends will gather to pray and enjoy some snacks, coffee and beverage. This ritual is meant to help the soul leave the house where he lived forever and on the ninth day, the altar is removed from the room. This ritual is also made in towns and cities.
Normally, in the cities, a funeral house is used, where families and friends will come to give their condolences to the mourners and it will be a come and go of people; a religious service will be held and thereafter the burial.
But lately, in the suburbs a new way to bury the dead person, has been introduced. If the deceased was a drug dealer, lived a criminal lifestyle or died by any kind of accident, rum and beer will be served or bought, loud music of songs (merengue, bachata, Dominican reggaeton and dembow), loved by the deceased will be played and danced, the cufin will be kept open so that the dead person can be touched by the mourners, family and friends attending the funeral and maybe to have the feeling that he is participating of his farewell party!! Of course there will be crying, shouts, and other sorrow manifestations among the loud music, all of which will accompany the funeral to the cemetery.
Pictures by Listin Diario and sobradeflow.com