El Cibao

The Cibao, usually referred to as “El Cibao”, is a region of the Dominican Republic located in the northern part of the country.

The word Cibao, from Taino Ciba-o, meaning ‘rocky land’; from ciba, meaning ‘rock, stone’, and o, meaning ‘land, place’, means “the place where rocks abound”. Cibao was a native name for the island, although the Spanish used it during the Spanish conquest to refer to the rich and fertile valley between the Central and Septentrional mountain ranges

The valley is not only a geographical unit, but also a cultural and linguistic unit. The Cibao region is considered to be the cultural heartland of the Dominican Republic. The typical accent spoken in the Cibao region is a mixture of two dialects: that of the 16th- and 17th-century

Merengue, played using the güira, Tambora and accordion, was originated in El Cibao. The original folk type of merengue is known as perico ripiao or típico, which is played to this day by local musical groups, as a variation of the merengue, with a faster pace.

During late January and through February, several carnivals are held within the region. The most popular of these festivals belong to the province of La Vega, and dates back to the first European settlements. It began as a religious activity celebrating the pre-Lent season, and the carnival’s theme revolves around the victory of good over evil.

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