The Carnival occurs every weekend in February in the town of La Vega. The Dominican carnivals are supposed to be the first ones celebrated in the New World (even predating the more famous ones in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro). La Vega is the third biggest city in the Dominican Republic with a long history dating back to the time of Christopher Columbus. The first Dominican Carnival goes back to the 16th century. The Spanish would let their slaves have some fun for a day. The Spanish, however, were very religious and needed the festival to have some sort of religious significance so it became a battle of good versus evil (the devil). Of course, the exciting look of these masks from the Caribbean is also influenced by African traditions.