There are many superstitions and beliefs in Dominican Republic as in all countries throughout the world. Here are listed the one's most unique or interesting to this island in the Caribbean.
Always remember, when a bad omen or fucú occurs one must ward it off by making a cross sign with the index fingers remembering always to whisper, ever so softly, the word "zafa". It is believed that by doing this you just MAY be safe if you happen to make a boo-boo and do or say the wrong thing. Don't forget.....
Women, Children and Pregnancy
If the hammock of the boy is rocked without him in it, this will cause the boy to become crazy.
If you pass over top of your husband when you are pregnant he will get all the morning sickness.
If your are pregnant and you hold a girl, and the baby kicks you will have a girl, and vice versa.
The "Ásabache" is a black hand or fist, sometimes a red and black bean that is used to ward off the mal ojo/ evil eye. Usually worn around the neck, even on a gold chain. Always a good baby shower gift. (more about the asabache)
Mal de ojo/ The evil eye is especially thought to cause illness in babies. It happens when somebody looks at a child with envy and makes compliments without without saying "God bless you". If children become sick suddenly and without any physical reason and a doctor has no explanation is is for sure caused by mal de ojo
Never remove the 'asabache' until someone says it's nonsense
New mother can not have citrus fruits
When a baby is just born you say "God Bless You" to prevent the child from getting the evil eye
If you let a child see his or her reflection before they're two years old they won't talk.
Put a small bracelet of beads on the child's ankle or wrist to ward off evil and to bring prosperity.
You must never say no if a pregnant woman asks you for something that you are eating, if you do you'll get a sty. To be on the safe side ALWAYS ask pregnant women if they would like some want of what you're eating.
The name is an important part of the person and can be used to bring evil to the person if it is known. Because of this a persons real name is usually kept secret. If your real name is known then you could be bewitched or sold to the devil by a Vendegete, or cursed by a brujo/ witch.This is why nick names, known here as Apodo, are given to children by their parents. These names usually are nothing like their given name but usually has something to do with their appearance. This way, by using the fake name it conceals their true identities from anyone trying to curse them
If you drop a spoon and the bowl of the spoon is up (it looks like a pregnant women) a new family member will be arriving soon.
Some parents in Dominican Republic hang a baseball glove on the crib of a newborn baby boy as a good luck charm because they wish him to become a great baseball player.
When a child bends over and looks at you from between their legs, it is said that they want another little brother or sister.
A pregnant woman should not walk underneath a guanabana tree or eat guanabana as she may lose her child.
Pregnant women cannot eat piña / pineapple.
If a baby is getting sick or congested take a hair off a menstruating woman's head and tie it around the babies wrist for 24 hours and the child will not get sick.
When a baby has hiccups, put a hair from the mother's head on the baby's head until the hiccups go away.
To prevent hiccups when feeding a baby place a string from it's blanket on the forehead.
Do not look at anyone that is deformed while pregnant of the baby will come out looking that way.
Do not get your baby's haircut before he is one. If you do he won't talk!
Pregnant women should not go into the ocean
Having as many babies as you can since they are all born with a loaf of bread under their arms.
A small bag worn around the neck of little children is filled with garlic to ward off evil spirits, evil eyes and sickness.
Whenever you say something nice about a newborn you must say que "Dios lo bendiga". Not doing so may cause the baby to become ill or cause some other catastrophe.
If you see a dead lizard in your house a woman will come out pregnant.
Permitting a dog or cat, depending on who is telling the tale, to sleep on a child's bed will make them not be able to have children
A women after having a child cannot wash her hair hair for 41 days or remove her socks for 41 days after giving birth.
You must give a woman who just had birth sopa de gallina vieja / old hen soup.
A woman having her menstruation cannot enter a freshly seeded field because it will damage the crop
pregnant women are prohibited from eat cherries, lemons, codfish, and herring with fried eggs (typical breakfast)
A small piece of black fabric must be tied around the right arm of a new born This fabric draws in and collects negative energy keeping it from the baby.
In some areas of Dominican Republic prior to baptism they are given a baño/ bath to ward of the evil eye. This bath contains a mashed clove of garlic and three grains of salt added to the Agua Bendita/ Holy Water This mix is sprinkled on the child
Do not eat guineos/ bananas if you are menstruating
Do not squeeze limons / lemons when you are having mensuration.
Girls during the time of their development cannot eat green fruit or fruta agria/ sour fruit.
Throwing a child's milk or baby tooth on the rooftop when they lose it will make the new tooth come in strong and straight. (more information on this and the Ratoncito Pérez here)
Marriage and no marriage
It is a catastrophe if one gets married on Tuesday, Friday or in the month of November.
If a woman opens an umbrella in the house she will never get married
DO not go to a wedding dressed in black this gives bad luck to the couple.
If a single woman in serving something on a tray and the tray is left empty she should hold it upside down or she won't get married.
If a young girl walks under a ladder, she will never marry.
You can't sweep a single person's feet or they will stay single.
If you cross a set of hands already in a handshake with another handshake, someone will be getting married
Getting married on Tuesday or Friday in November is very bad luck.
Death and death causes
If you have two lights turned on in a room. This causes death.
If a dog howls with persistence somebody in the neighborhood will die.
If a dog barks at night without reason then he is seeing a ghost.
If all the hens cluck at the same time there will be a death in the family.
If a person goes to the cemetery while ill they will die of that disease.
Do Not sleep with your feet towards the street. Since this is the way the dead are put to rest this will bring bad luck or even worse death
Every time a bottle of alcohol is opened some of the alcohol must be poured onto the floor por los muertos/ for the dead.
When seeing a funeral procession on the highway make sure to cross yourself or you could be possessed by the dead.
If your windows are open and a funeral is going by you have to close the windows and wake any sleeping babies. Throw a bucket of water down the steps for good measure.
Every time you pass a graveyard don't forget to cross yourself for protection and respect, at both the beginning and end of the graveyard.
Food and In the Home Superstitions
Do not ask a neighbor to lend you salt in the morning. This will bring bad luck.
If a farmer chews tobacco while he plants yucca, the yucca will be bitter.
Young women just entering puberty may never eat citrus fruits
A new straw broom, before the first use, must be set outside for a day for luck
Never hand a salt shaker directly to someone, you should always place it on the table first.
You cannot eat avocado and drink milk right before bed or you will get bad stomach cramps
You should never drink coffee standing up or any plans that you have made will not happen (se te barajan los planes).
If you drop a fork and the tines of the fork point to the roof (up) an angry sibling will arrive. If the tines of the fork point to the floor the siblings will arrive looking for food or lodgings, a celebration.
If you drop a knife in the kitchen, a male visitor will be stopping by. If you drop a spoon, it will be a female.
If you eat the seeds of a watermelon (Pastilla) you will get stomach pains and die.
Don't eat piña/ pineapple too soon after eating eggs.
Placing a broom behind the door one will receive visitors
To get rid of a guest who has overstayed their welcome place a broom behind the entry door with the bristle end up.
If you come across a set of crossed branches on your doorstep, watch out. Someone had done a "job" on you.
Cover all your mirrors during thunderstorms
The first time you enter your new house (residence) bring with you oil, salt, bread, a candle and a picture or Jesus or whatever saint you choose. The candle and picture is to bless the house and the oil, salt and bread will always make sure you have food in the house.
If a wasp comes into the house it's bad luck.
Never sweep out the front door of a business."There go your profits".
Don't put money under your mattress or you will never get a good nights sleep.
Bells placed in the doorway ward off evil and are placed there as an advanced warning should spirits enter the home.
Never open the fridge after you iron
A glass of water placed on a shelf with the image of Santa Clara placed behind it to "they clarify all the ways"
Place above the front door some sábila/ aloe. This collects all negative energy of people coming and going
Standing in a doorway during a thunderstorm could cause the home to be struck with lightning
Place a sprig of Perejil/ parsley in your home and it will bring you money.