FOR EVERYONE AROUND the world, Christmas invokes a special feeling. It does not matter if you live in the United States, Panama, Chile, Canada, Russia or in the Dominican Republic—each country and culture has its own special Christmas customs and traditions. THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC is a mostly Catholic nation. Christmas is such an important holiday in the Dominican Republic due to the religious significance it holds. For Dominicans, the celebration begins on the first of November and ends in January with the Feast of the Three Kings. This is a special time for family and friends to get together and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The festival spirit begins to become apparent at the end of October as people plan their families’ get-togethers and travels. Although the Dominican Republic is not large—it and Haiti make up the small island of Hispaniola—it still takes planning and time to travel from one area to another to meet with family and friends. THE PEOPLE OF the Dominican Republic truly know how to “ramp it up” into party mode. The government officially changes the laws at Christmas time to allow bars to stay open all night throughout the Christmas holiday season. CHRISTMAS IN THE Dominican Republic is one of the best times of year. The entire country celebrates this deeply meaningful holiday with some of the most incredible traditions, parties, and foods. The country itself may be small, but its Christmas customs are anything but. The spirit of the holiday is felt in every corner of the nation. ~ COME ALONG as expatriate M. Alexa, now living in the Dominican Republic to retire, volunteer, and write, brings you into the beautiful island’s rich Christmas traditions of food, family, and festivities.