But let me start from the beginning.
Traditionally, Dominicans don't seem to have too many traditions regarding Easter. No Easter egg hunts, no chocolate bunnies, no baskets full of goodies on Easter morning, not even a Peep in sight. For a country that is so heavily influenced by the U.S., this one holiday seems to have somehow escaped the clutches of consumerism (which is probably a good thing). They do, however, have one strange tradition: sweet beans. Nope, I'm not talking jelly beans (oh, how I wish!)
I tried it once.
Let's just say its an acquired taste.
Dominicans would beg to differ though. I polled all my students (that's about 80) to see what their favorite part of Easter was, and at least half of them claimed it was habichuelas con dulce.
I just don't understand.
This is one tradition I'll let the Dominican Republic keep for itself.
The only other custom associated with Easter (and this is really a custom for all Dominican holidays) is to head to the beach and drink copious amounts of rum (which is what the other half of my students claimed was their favorite part) Now a beach vacation is definitely a tradition I can get behind.
And that was my original plan for Thursday and Friday of Semana Santa (holy week).
Mother nature had different ideas. After a sweltering hot start to the week, Thursday through Sunday turned into one of the coldest, rainiest weekends of the year. Good thing I also had plans to go to the mountains! Gotta have all your bases covered here :)
So after a restful Thurday and Friday in Santiago, I loaded up in a mini guagua with a herd of Hub friends and headed up to the hills (woah, look at those alliteration skills, I wasn't even trying!)
Happily holding our warm coffees and teas, sweetened with dollops of sugar and fresh cows milk, we filled the morning air with hymns and laughter at our sometimes off-key attempts. To tell the truth though, I like that we sometimes sing off-key. I know that God doesn't mind, he's just happy we are all there together, and for me, that's more beautiful than any song in perfect pitch.
Thanks so much to Elaine and Marcos for bringing us all together!