In Ancient Greece and Italy, long before the emergence of Christianity, people had wild celebrations centered around solstices and equinoxes. The Catholic Church,therefore, adopted many of the celebrations, the spring equinox. The new springtime celebration came to be called carnival or carnaval from the Latin words carnis (“flesh” or “meat”) and levare (“to leaveoff”).
The Dominican Carnival is one of the most colorful traditions in the Dominican Republic and probably, the most cheerful and colorful Caribbean's carnival.
The Carnival is celebrated onevery weekend of February, but the apex of the festivity takes place during the final days of February. In some years it falls at the same time with the 27th of February, Dominican Independence Day.The Dominican Carnival is a fusion of religions and culture. At first, it was a religious celebration on the date of Corpus Christi. However it eventually was blended with native customs andpagan celebrations. The Dominican Carnival also experienced the African influence.
Characters of the Dominican Carnival
The use of masks to symbolize spiritual, supernatural and unknown spiritworld entities has been used since before recorded history. The natives of the island, the Tainos, and the natives of the surrounding islands had their own festivities long before the arrival of theSpaniards. Their celebrations were called areitos.
Carnival has been celebrated in Santo Domingo since the mid 1500's and before. Each town having their own version of the custom. Of the manycostumes and creatures represented the most celebrated seem to be the devils known as Diablos Cojuelos. Others are painted bodies, or bodies decorated with paper. And yet others may have animal masksor elaborate costumes. Many disguises and get-ups symbolize the opposite.
Devils: The central characters of the Carnival are Diablos Cojuelos (devils). They are known by the names of "Lechones"...