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Superstition – Marriage, Death, Water, Home

Dominican Republic Superstitions – Marriage, Death, Water, Home

The Dominican Republic has many superstitious beliefs that have been passed down through the ages. How to ward off bad luck before it happens and what to do if you make a mistake and those bad omens find you. Read, learn and remember how to prevent bad things from happening to you the Dominican way.

To Marry or Not To Marry | Death and It’s Causes | Rain and Water | Food and Home Superstitions

A Santeria in Dominican Republic where you can purchase all your protection needs.
A Santeria where you can purchase all your protection needs.

Marriage and No Marriage

If you are married or planning on being married or maybe you never want to be married. You might want to read about these superstitions before making any decision.

*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.

Something buried at the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco.
Something buried at the Ruinas del Monasterio de San Francisco.

Death and Death Causes

How to prevent death and illnesses and what to do if death comes close.

*If you have two lights turned on in a room this will cause 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.

Small grave yard in the Batey of Dominican Republic
Small grave yard in the Batey of Dominican Republic.

*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.

Rain and Water

When to avoid bathing, rain or getting wet and when to just dive in and get soaked. These superstitions are used to protect you from the bad omens of fucús.

*If things are going bad, a dip in the ocean will wash away the bad spirits.

*Don’t bathe in the morning – again, you will get gripe (the flu or a cold).

*You must place a cubo de auga / bucket of water at the furthest corner of your house the week of New Year’s. Exactly at midnight you dump the water out the backdoor. The belief is you gather all the bad spirits and feelings of the previous year and you dump them out never to return. (more New Year traditions)

*If you go into a rain shower when the sun is shining you will get sick.

*Taking a bath with rose petals is said to bring Quitar la mala suerte / good luck. Usually done by people who have not won the lottery.

*To make it not rain make a circle of pebbles in your yard. Cover these stones with ashes and say the anti-rain chant “San Isidro Labrador, quita el agua y pon el sol!”

*To protect your crops during a storm with strong winds mount your machete, upside down, on the wall in the farthest corner of the home.

Caught in a rain storm at the Palacio de Borgellá.
Caught in a rain storm at the Palacio de Borgellá.

*If you are caught in a thunder and lightning storm its best to stop talking and close the mouth. Also remove and teeth that are removable because they, the metal in them, are said to be lightning conductors and they can be blown right out of your mouth.

*When the first rain in May falls El Agua de Mayo catch the water with your hands and wash your face. This will get rid of wrinkles and purify. Save some in a jar to use later for whatever ails you.

Food and In the Home Superstitions

Learn how to cleanse a new home before you move Dominican style. And be careful, if you eat certain foods or even drop a utensil this can cause dire consequences or bring unwanted visitors to your home. Some things can even cause death!

*Do not ask a neighbor to lend you salt in the morning. This will bring bad luck.

*Never hand a salt shaker directly to someone, you should always place it on the table first.

*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.

Watermellons for sale
Watermellons for sale but do not eat the seeds.

*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.

*You should never drink coffee standing up or any plans that you have made will not happen (se te barajan los planes).

*You cannot eat avocado and drink milk right before bed or you will get bad stomach cramps.

*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 straw or palm frond broom setting outside before use for good luck.
A straw or palm frond broom setting outside before use for good luck.

*A new straw or palm frond broom, before the first use, must be set outside for a day for luck

*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.

*Never sweep out the front door of a business.”There go your profits”.

*Place above the front door some sábila/ aloe. This collects all the negative energy of people coming and going.

*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.

*Standing in a doorway during a thunderstorm could cause the home to be struck with lightning.

*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 are 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 brings bad luck.

*Don’t put money under your mattress or you will never get a good nights sleep.

*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 a sprig of Perejil/ parsley in your home and it will bring you money.

*Bells placed in the doorway ward off evil and are placed there as an advanced warning should spirits enter the home.

*Turning a chair on one leg will bring misfortune.

Patron Saint Celebrations

Fiestas Patronales de la República Dominicana / Celebrations of the Patron Saints of Dominican Republic

Patronales/ Patron Saints. Every town and village in Dominican Republic has it’s own patron saint. Each town has a celebration for their saint. These celebrations usually cover an entire weekend or more with a party, music and just getting together of the inhabitants of the town in the local park or gathering area. It is a time of sharing with the neighbors and another excuse for having a party. Not that Dominicans need an excuse to have a party or a good time.

Here is a list of Patron Saints and different celebrations and what town celebrates that saint. The dates are a general reference and can change year to year depending on the dates the government sets. Try to visit a town during their celebrations. You will be so happy you did, even if you are not Catholic.

Festival San Miguel in Santo Domingo

Enero / Janurary

Festival El Santo Cristo de Bayaguana Offering of the Bulls

1. Santo Cristo de los Milagros of Bayaguana – ofrenda de los toros/ The Offering of the bulls (More information about this tradition go to our page on Town Traditions)

21. Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia o Virgen de la Altagracia. Celebrated in San José de Ocoa, Monte Plata, Villa Altagracia, Paraiso y los bajos de Haina. More information on Altagracia

Febrero / February

2 Virgen de la Candelaria patron saint of San Carlos, in Santo Domingo and Sabana Grande de Boyá.

11 Nuestra Señora de Lourdes patron saint of Peralta in Azua

16 San Elías Barón del Cementerio/ The Barron of the Cemetery.

Marzo / March

3 y 4 San Benito de Palermo celebrated in Guayabal, a providence of Azua

4 y 5 Procesión Romana-Higüey a procession to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey,starting at the Obelisco in La Romana

8 Miércoles de Ceniza/ Ash Wednesday

17 Damballah is symbolized by un arco iris/ Rainbow

19 San José this saint is celebrated in the towns of Restauración in Dajabón, Río Grande in Puerto Plata, Villa Vásquez in Prov. Montecristi, San José de las Matas in Prov. Dajabón, Yamasá in Prov. Monte Plata, El Valle in Sabana de la Mar. In Azua this patron saint is celebrated with carnival like festivities.

Abril / April

8 Amancia Pérez patron saint of Pueblo Arriba, Baní. This is the death of this saint who was the keeper of the San Juan Bautista en la Cofradía/ Saint John the Baptist in the Brotherhood

14 y 15 La Dolorita patron saint of Los Morenos, Villa Mella. She is a saint who bestows miracles and helps the people. It is celebrated by hundresd with salves, atabales, rezos y cantos/dance, prayers and song.(to learn more about salves, atables and afro dominican music)

Mayo / May

1 San José Obrero celebrated in Villa Jaragua in Prov. Bahoruco and Ensanche Ozama in Santo Domingo

3 San Felipe Apostol patron saint of Puerto Plata.

13 Nuestra Señora de Fátima celebrated in Villa Sinda in Prov. Montecristi, Galván in Prov. Bahoruco, Arenoso in Prov. Duarte and Hondo Valle in Prov. Samaná.

15 San Isidro el Labrador celebrated in Castillo in Prov. Duarte, Luperón in Puerto Plata, Las Caobas in Santiago Rodríguez, CLavelLina y Uvilla in Prov. Bahoruco, EL Llano in Elías Piña, Santé y La Enea in Prov. La Altagracia.

21 Espíritu Santo celebrated in Cotuí and many of the rural communities throughout Dominican Republic. (Here is a little information on this music)

18(?) Santa Rita de Casia celebrated in Juan Barón a Prov.of San Cristóbal, Sabana Perdida in Santo Domingo

30 San Fernando Rey patron saint of Montecristi.

Junio / June

11 San Bernabé patron saint of Villa Mella.

13 San Antonio de Padua patron saint of Bonao in Prov. Monseñor Nouel, Guerra in Prov. Monte Plata, La Victoria in Santo Domingo, Villa Rivas in Prov. Duarte, Monción in Prov. Santiago Rodríguez, Miches in Prov. El Seibo

22 Corazón de María patron saint of Chaquey Abajo in Cotuí

29 San Pedro y San Pablo patron saint of San Pedro de Macorís; Las Salinas in Prov. Barahona, El Cercado in Prov. San Juan de la Maguana, Fundación de Peravia in Prov.Peravia.

30 San Pablo Apóstol patron saint celebration in Villa González

Septiembre / September

7 Nuestra Señora de los Remedios patron saint of Azua, Cabral in Barahona, El Limón in Jimaní, Naranjo in San Juan de la Maguana

14 Exaltación de la Santísima Cruz patron saint of Mao in Valverde

24 Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes/Las Mercedes is patroness of the firefighters and the Patron Saint of the Dominican People. More information, picture and video of Mercedes and the celebration.

29 San Miguel Arcángel / St. Michael, the Archangel is the patron saint of the Dominican armed forces. He is the Captain of the Celestial Legions. Combating the devil he leads the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. Celebrated in the Santo Domingo town of San Miguel at the Iglesia San Miguel. History of the important Festival San Miguel.

Octubre / October

1 San Francisco patron saint of Bánica

4 Nuestra Señora del Rosario patron saint of Barahona

12 Nuestra Señora del Pilar patron saint of Sabana de la Mar and Cevicos.

14 Santa Rosa de Jesús patron saint of Elías Piña.

15 Santa Teresa de Avila patron saint of Comendador in Elías Piña

24 San Rafael patron saint of Boca Chica, Capotillo, Palma Herrada y los 21 in Moca, San Rafael del Yuma, Tamboril, Estancia Vieja in Santiago Rodríguez, Villa Tapia y Quita Sueño in Cotuí, Guayacanes in Valeverde

29 San Judas Tadeo patron saint of Escondido in Baní

Noviembre / November

1 Todos los Santos patron saint of Maguana in San Juan de la Maguana

21 Nuestra Señora de Regla patron saint of Baní

Diciembre / December

5 Santa Bárbara patron saint of Samaná

8 Inmaculada Concepción patron saint of Cotuí, Monte Grande in Dajabón, Estancia Nueva in Moca, Sombrero in Baní, Oviedo in Pedernales, Ramón Santana in San Pedro de Macorís

13 Santa Lucía patron saint of Las Matas de Farfán and El Peñón in Barahona

18 Virgen del Amparo patron saint of Polo in Barahona and Esperanza in Valverde

27 San Juan Evangelista patron saint of Salcedo

To see a map with all the Dominican Republic Provinces (Prov.) listed.

Las Mercedes

Our Lady of Mercy/ Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. Patrona de la República Dominicana

According to the legend on March 1495, Christopher Columbus, accompanied by a few Spanish men had to face the Chief and a large number of Indians in a battle for gold. They built a trench from which to do battle and planted a large wooden cross next to this trench. It is said that the Virgin appeared on the cross.

The Indians made the Spanish run from their trench, retreating to a hill. The Indians tried to destroy the cross and even tried to burn it but they could not destroy it. Because of the aggressiveness of the Indians Columbus and most of the troops decided to leave. Fray Juan Infante, who carried a statue of Our Lady of Mercy, urged the Spanish to continue fighting and promised them victory on behalf of the Virgin.

The next day the forces of Columbus had victory over the native peoples of the island, taking what belonged to these original peoples of the island.

Columbus told his son Diego that he wanted to build a church in this spot in the Virgins honor. In 1527 atop the hill was established in the first convent of the Order of Mercy. After this incident, there was a shrine built to honor Our Lady of Mercy at the very top of the hill where Columbus planted the miraculous cross.

Iglesia Santo Cerro, La Vega
Iglesia Santo Cerro, La Vega

Holy Hill/ Santo Cerro

The church that sits on this spot now was built in 1880. This shrine of Holy Hill/ Santo Cerro is atop a hill that is about 8 miles from the town of La Vega. Every year on September 24 thousands of the faithful makes a procession there to honor this patron saint. There is a museum here and from the veranda, atop the holy hill El Santo Cerro, there is a spectacular view of Valle De La Vega Real in the Cordillera Septentrional.

The Virgen de la Mercedes is well known and loved in many countries including Peru, Argentina and many other countries.

Our Lady de Altagracia/ Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia watching over Ciudad Colonial
Our Lady de Altagracia/ Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia watching over Ciudad Colonial

Mercedarios

Since 1259 padres Mercedarios begin to spread devotion to Our Lady of Mercy (or Mercedes) that extends around the world. San Pedro Nolasco, inspired by the Blessed Virgin/ Santísima Virgen, founded an order dedicated to the mercy/ la merced (which means works of mercy/ obras de misericordia). San Pedro Nolasco and his friars were very devoted to the Virgin Mary. They took her as their patron saint and guide. Los mercedarios were knights of the Virgin Mary/ caballeros de la Virgen María in the service of his redeeming work and honor as Mother of Mercy or Virgin Redeemer/ Madre de la Merced o Virgen Redentora.

Iglesia y Convento de las Mercedes

The Iglesia Las Mercedes in the Zona Colonial
The Iglesia Las Mercedes in the Zona Colonial

The Iglesia y Convento de las Mercedes/ The Church and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy located on Calle Mercedes in Colonial Zone has services for the Virgin every year on September 24 is Día de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes when there is a procession in her honor.

A video if the procession going up Calles 19 de Marzo crossing Arzobispo Nouel in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on September 24, 2008

See the dates of all the Patron Saint celebrations throughout Dominican Republic