- Apr 7, 2007
I'm curious about Dominican Christmas traditions... what's the typical Christmas morning look like in Dominican?
I love it! Natasha's post was great My heritage is Hungarian, so growing up we always celebrated on Christmas Eve.
Anyone know the origin of the Three Kings? This is new to me .. never heard of it! The grass and mints made me smile; it's super cute!
Here is a good post from our Dominican Natasha made way back in the early years of DR1
Christmas is Christmas, celebrated on Dec. 25th. Three Kings Day (Dia de Reyes) is celebrated on Jan. 6th. This is when children receive gifts as opposed to ChristmasDay in the US. Yes, more and more Dominican families exchange gifts on Dec. 25th. (most likely because of the internalisation of the "white beared fellow", foreign nationals living in the DR, and because so many Dominicans living abroad have adopted Dec. 25th as the day to exchange presents). Nevertheless, Three Kings Day is still KING and that tradition will remain (hopefully).
Kids all over anxiously await the arrival of the Three Kings the night before - Jan. 5! Instead of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, us Dominican kids would gather an old shoebox and fill it with grass (for the camels) and mints for the Kings. We would place it under the bed. The next morning, we would find our presents under the bed, minus the shoebox, of course ;-) Growing up, I used to try to "cheat" and fight sleep as hard as I could in order to "catch" the Reyes and the camels come in!!!
As far as celebrating Christmas, well Dominicans don't really have a huge Christmas dinner like you have here in the US. That gastronomical ordeal is done the night before, on Christmas Eve (Nochebuena). Many Europeans do this too.
Christmas Eve dinner is even more important than Christmas Day itself. If you are a Dominican who is alive, you HAVE to be with your loved ones on this night! Christmas Eve dinner consists of a myriad of dishes, too many to mention here, but to give you an example, there is ALWAYS pasteles en hojas. There just isn't a Christmas Eve dinner without PASTELES. Think of tamales - but instead we make them with ground plantains and other tubers and fill them with ground beef. We then wrap them with banana leaves and boil them...ummmm delicious.
Christmas Eve is a VERY festive night. People drink, dance, sing, and just plain party throughout the whole day. Many people also choose to go to midnight mass (my folks did anyway). On Christmas Day people are just too bloated (from the "jartura" they had the night before) to really do much. You ussually eat the leftovers from Nochebuena (which you will probably have for another month or so). Kids are dressed in their best clothing on Christmas Day and people just hang out with friends and family throughout the day.
You think you are done? NO! This whole gastronomical dinner is again repeated on New Years Eve/Dec 31st. After dinner, people welcome the New Year with their loved ones and then the young (and not so young) hit the clubs or go to people's parties. I have to say that I have never seen other groups of people welcome the New Year and celebrate the whole Christmas season the way Dominicans do Hope this helps!
Sigh. I miss Natasha's always informative posts. :ermm:
Thanks, Anna -- my first thought too was to dig out Natasha's old posts on holidays in the DR. Maybe they should be made "seasonal sticky's"?
Christmas Eve (buena noche) is when the families will gather to eat drink and be merry!
On Christmas morning the adults are sleeping late because they are pretty much hung over. When they start moving around again they will eat leftovers from the night before. After they eat they will start partying again.
The Christmas season is a great time to be in the DR. Plenty of excuses for non stop parties with family and friends.
The kids Christmas is celebrated in January.