Dominican Lent

Marked by a still pleasant temperature in the tropics, Lent is assumed as a period of spiritual recollection and of certain social restrictions, at least as it was for many years.

Temporality includes Holy Week, which is the period of greatest spiritual consecration, and where compliance is required with more zeal of certain traditions, especially in food and religious adherence.

In our country, Lent has, in addition to religious activism, a secular activism, distanced from the sacred nature, we refer to the carnival.

This celebration, although initially in Europe was marked as a separation between the feast of the spirit and the feast of meat or carnestolenda, in America the times of ruptures were diluted and there is carnival, at least in our country, before, during and after Lent, causing conflict with the church said itinerary.

In spite of the fact that the carnival coincides with the patriotic dates as well, it has finally been its prolongation after February, the ecclesiastical annoyance, because it transgresses the retreat that is to take place in Lent, of the secular world.

Carnival, considered as the passion of the flesh by the Catholic world, is seen as an interference from that sacred universe. The carnival participants at the time of distributing their celebrations, do it in the spring time, not necessarily thinking about Lent, it is logical that we should also note that Lent is part of spring, is present in many cultures, especially in Africa, and referred to the moment of worshiping nature and mother earth for the fertility and abundance of expected products.

Many carnivals our displaced in Lent are linked to places where there are productive cycles that close or open crops and therefore, it is the time of celebration, although this is through the carnival, whose celebration comes from Europe, and which has been mestizo , African cults to earth and spring.

However, and as our peoples are the result of important cultural mestizajes, the Catholic Church does not see it that way and feels it as a distortion that has produced misunderstanding. After a community sets a carnival date, related to multiple motivations, it is very difficult to dismantle those cultural reasons; therefore, the Dominican carnival moves in an atypical timelessness to the rest of America and with deterritorialities.

Equally complex is the amount of carnivals that we have practically in all the national territory and on different dates. Naturally, the most expeditious of these dates is the month of February for political reasons that conditioned it, but it is not the only one.


Carlos Andújar

Coordinator of Cultural Programs