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Republica Dominicana


Dominicans live in a country with Spanish, African and native Taíno influences that combine to create the unique culture that is Dominican Republic. There are European, African and Taíno cultural elements found within various areas of Dominican food, family structure, religion and music. There are many words used in daily conversation and for many native food dishes in the Dominican that have Taíno origin. Despite having a culture of mixed races and classes, Spanish is the primary language and English (taught only in private school) is mostly found within the major cities, concentrated in the major tourist areas. Dominicans are warm, friendly, outgoing, and gregarious people that are eager to talk to you and learn more about you and teach you about their culture and whatever Spanish you are willing to learn.

In terms of social classes, education and the economic situation of Dominican habitants determines which class they belong to. The poorest people of the country may not have the basic amenities, running water, electricity, sanitary facilities or consumer electronics, while the upper class are quite privileged and live similarly to those in rich countries of Western Europe and the United States. Regardless of social class, the family unit is of primary importance. Relationships among people are more important than schedules and being late for appointments, and people often spend time socializing rather than working. The common expression, Si Dios quiere (If God wishes), expresses the belief that personal power is intertwined with one's place in the family, the community, and the grand design of the Deity. People have been forced to accept the strong class system begun by the Spanish and maintained by leaders that allow only a few prominent families to hold the majority of the wealth and power in Dominican Republic.

Music is a major part of the Dominican culture; the country is primarily known for merengue, however bachata and salsa are also commonly found. Dominican rock is also popular and is its own unique style of music, influenced by British and American rock. Many genres of rock can be found in Dominican including: pop rock, reggae rock, punk rock, and hard metallic rock. Dominican is the third country in Latin American to which the mixture of bachata and merengue rhythm were introduced as reggaeton; today this music is quite popular and it is very common to hear reggaeton in the discotecas and in the streets.

As described earlier, Dominican cuisine has Spanish, Taíno, and African influences. La comida tipica –the typical food-  has different names than in other Latin American countries, but is quite similar. The most important meal of the day is lunch; it can last up to 2 hours and usually consists of rice, meat (fish, chicken, beef or pork), beans and a side portion of vegetables or salad. "La Bandera" (translates as "The Flag") is the most popular dish served for lunch and consists of meat and red beans on white rice. Sancocho is a stew often made with seven varieties of meat. Dining out is popular for Dominicans and tourists alike and many superior restaurants can be found throughout the country with reasonable prices.

The most popular sport in Dominican is baseball with its season usually beginning in October and ending in January. There are 6 teams within the Dominican baseball league and the Dominican Republic has the second-highest number of Major League Baseball players (MLB) players after the US.

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