Asociación Carnavalesca de Massachusetts

Dominican carnival

In the Dominican Republic, Carnival is celebrated throughout February, with groups of elaborately costumed and masked people parading through the streets.

The Asociación Carnavalesca de Massachusetts brings a bit of Dominican Carnival to the United States. The group is led by Stelvyn Mirabal of Lawrence. Determined to preserve Dominican traditions in Lawrence, Mirabal formed a comparsa 12 years ago, a group of costumed people who participate in the carnival parade and were part of Lawrence's second Dominican Parade. There are now 75 people in Mirabal's comparsa and the Asociación Carnavalesca de Massachusetts is well known throughout New England for participation in Dominican and Latino cultural festivals and parades as ambassadors of Dominican culture.

Mirabal's native city of Santiago Los Caballeros is known for its masks, which are called lechones, meaning pig. They are considered tradicional costumes and are relatively simple. Suits from the city of La Vega are larger and more elaborate and are referred to as fantasías. You will see a mix of these two types of suits parading during the Lowell Folk Festival.