A couple of months ago, a great post went up on our blog discussing the name of our beautiful region of the Dominican Republic. As you have no doubt noticed from the name change from Punta Borrachón to Punta Cana, the palm leaf has a long and storied history both in our region and in the history of our resort, and it is that history that I am here to discuss today.
Let’s dig deep and look at the fascinating history of the cana and answer a couple of big questions: why is the cana leaf so important to our region and why is it so important to our resort?
For starters, we can’t really discuss our resort without going back - way, way back. The palm tree was an important resource for the native Taino people, and some of the earliest anthropological evidence of human life in the Dominican Republic shows the importance of the palm leaf in Taino culture. The Taino used the leaves for sustenance and survival, fashioning clothing and tools out of the leaves. This art has not been lost as cana hats are still popular with workers on the resort, and woven baskets, known as “macutos,” are sold throughout the region. The Taino legacy also lives on in one other important way: the words “cana” and “macuto” are both Taino in origin and are used in Punta Cana to discuss palm leaves.
The importance of the palm has found its way not only into our vocabulary but also into the symbolism of our resort. You may have noticed that the logo for PUNTACANA Resort and Club is two palm leaves, one prominently displayed in the front and another as a shadow behind it. Of course the obvious connection is the word “cana” which appears in the name of our resort, but the connection runs a little deeper. The palm leaf in the forefront of the image sets the tone for the future generations - it is clean, natural, and multifaceted. The shadow image behind it represents the continuation of these ideals and the transition from one generation of PUNTACANA partners to the next. The importance of the cana runs deep here.
It runs so deep, in fact, that it even has an influence on the food we eat. The aceite de palma (or palm oil) is used in traditional Dominican food preparation, and if you have eaten much Dominican food you have certainly had aceite de palma! Furthermore, one of the more overlooked ingredients (but no less tasty) is the palmito (heart of palm), which is delicious stewed and frequently found as a raw ingredient in salads.
As you can see, we have a long and varied history of using the cana to its fullest extent. From the hats we wear to the food we eat, the cana plays a role in our day to day lives and proves itself to be one of our most important indigenous resources. For these reasons, we are proud to refer to ourselves as Puntacana and to carry on the traditions that have been on the island for hundreds of years.
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