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Religion in Dominican Republic

The Christianization of the New World that began in the cradle of America, Dominican Republic, sowed the seeds of Catholicism that has paid off for ever and ever. In the twenty-first century, 64% of the Dominican population said that professes the Catholic religion (ENDESA 2002).

Two years ago, in 2000, the Gallup poll showed a greater balance between those who declare themselves Catholics: 75%.

The prevalence of Catholicism is in the background incidence, very evident, from the Catholic hierarchy in all social, economic and political, from the hand of the Concordat signed between the Holy See and the Dominican Republic in 1954. The agreement has enabled the church of Rome enhance a spiritual power that transcends partisan politics and military bodies.

However, during the twentieth century, the Dominican Republic began to experience the development of a diversity of religious expression-of Protestant denominations that joined the various manifestations of popular religiosity call, present since the arrival of black slaves from Africa to the island.

The spirituality of the black race soon became apparent in the half island, though the story would have to record the creativity that had to resort to disguise their deities in the midst of Catholic impositions.

The Africans brought from various parts of Africa had different languages, religions and cultures, but in general were polytheists. Maintaining his spirituality was his response to the need to preserve their identity with the utopia of being released.

The manifestations of popular religiosity that still run deep in segments of the population come from the Africans who occupied the western part of the island, colonized by France.

The voodoo was the popular religion that was formed in Haiti and then manifested in the Dominican Republic with a local variant-popular religion contains elements of the European spirit kardesiano and Cuban Santeria.

In the religious history of the country is also an indigenous ethnic contribution. The Tainos, the people of the island at the time of discovery, were highly structured religious beliefs through which explained the origin of the world, the natural and the supernatural and human existence. Cemies called their gods, with whom they communicated through rituals and ceremonies that led a priest or behique.

Moreover, the relevance of Catholic rites in the country is most evident in the most momentous national events, all tied to this cult. Easter, Christmas, the feast of the peoples, the veneration of the Virgin of Altagracia, annual processions of great importance, are part of the fan.

Higuey, capital city of the province of La Altagracia, is the first Marian center of America under the patronage of Our Lady of Altagracia, spiritual mother of the Dominican people.

On the practice of faith, 2002 census established that 70% of people with any religion regularly attend religious ceremonies, and that women participate at higher rates than men (77 versus 64%).

Another relevant fact: The Catholics attend religious services at a rate significantly lower than those of other churches: 67% in the first versus 88 to 92% in the second.

In the provinces, the highest proportions of assistance to religious ceremonies are for Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Santiago Rodriguez and La Vega (over 78% each) and lowest in Azua and Monte Cristi Bahoruco (from 62 to 63%) .

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