Holy Week in the Dominican Republic and Cuba – what does it mean?

Holy Week in the Dominican Republic and Cuba – what does it mean?

What is Holy Week in the Dominican Republic and Cuba?

Holy Week is largely celebrated in Roman Catholic countries, like the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, and at its most basic level is the week leading up to Easter. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, when Jesus is said to enter Jerusalem, and ends on Easter Monday, when Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated.

In the Dominican Republic and Cuba respectively, 85.4% and 82.8% of believing people are Roman Catholic, meaning Holy Week and Easter is an important and valued time of year. This year, Holy Week falls on March 24 through March 31, 2018.

So, what does that mean for your vacation?

Holy Week and your all-inclusive vacation

If you’re travelling to Cuba or the Dominican Republic during Holy Week, you may find some activities on the resort during all-inclusive vacations. From March 24 through March 31, 2018, motorized watersports offered by independent companies at the resorts will not be available. Some non-motorized watersports may also be limited. Many people are worried about their vacation as this often falls around March Break for Canadian students. 

The lack of access to motorized watersports is because many Dominicans and Cubans are given the week off work, in recognition of the important Dominican Republic religious holiday and importance of the Roman Catholic faith in Cuba.

Due to the religious importance of Holy Week, alcohol is banned in the towns and cities of the Dominican Republic and Cuba throughout the week: people visiting city centres on excursions or day trips will not be able to order or purchase alcohol. Restaurants and bars are the all-inclusive resorts are exempt from this ban, as resorts are able to purchase permits for serving alcohol during Holy Week to non-Dominican and Cuban residents.

Some resorts will also close the disco and casinos on Good Friday, and limit loud music on Good Friday until after 6 p.m. Travellers may also find that excursions do not depart or run on Good Friday.

The remainder of activities and services at all-inclusive resorts will operate as usual during Holy Week.

Holy Week dates

March 24 – March 31, 2018

April 13 – 20, 2019

April 4 – 11, 2020

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