Tag Archives: children

Christmas For Children

The Children/ Los niños

Christmas in Dominican Republic is for children. Always has been and always will be. Christmas, as in most countries, without children is just not Christmas.

Christmas | Songs | Decorations | Traditional Foods | Town and Neighborhood Traditions | Children – Three Kings Day | El Burrito de Belén song and lyrics | Christmas Words | Picture Collection – Christmas in Colonial Zone and Dominican Republic

Dia de los Reyes Magos

Traditionally gifts for the children are not presented until el Dia de los Reyes Magos / The Day of Kings also known as Epiphany. This is held on the 6th of January and marks the end of the Holiday season. This is the day when the three Wise Men or the Magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, were said to have arrived at the birth place of Jesus bearing gifts.

The Kings or Magi are the gift givers here in Dominican Republic, not Santa Claus, although some people choose to give gifts on both days. December 25 in accordance with US custom and January 6th according to Dominican and most of Latin Americas’ practice.

Dominican children wait for the arrival of the Three Kings. They do not leave cookies and milk. Instead, they leave grass for the camels and mints or candies for the Kings. They place their offerings either under their beds, outside the bedroom door or out on the outside steps of the home. These offerings are exchanged by the Kings (a.k.a. parents) for gifts for the little ones. Children find it hard to go to sleep and try to stay awake to see the Kings.

La Vieja Belen

In the rural areas and more impoverished neighborhoods, besides the Three Kings and Santa, there is an old tradition of La Vieja Belen/ The Old Lady of Bethlehem. She leaves gifts for the children also.

Many of the businesses will purchase gifts to distribute to the poorer children. It is an all afternoon affair with gifts distributed drawing style. It is fun to watch these children receive these presents. Some are really good gifts including bicycles, doll houses and much more!

Children receiving gifts on Dia de los Reyes Magos

El Burrito de Belén/ The Little Donkey of Bethlehem

This is one of my favorite children songs for Christmas/ Navidad. It seems that every ice cream truck and every commercial about Christmas on television plays this song. It is very catchy. Sing along with the video it is almost impossible not to enjoy this little happy song.

El Burrito de Belén/ The Little Donkey of Bethlehem

Con mi burrito sabanero, voy camino de Belén.
Con mi burrito sabanero, voy camino de Belén.

(English – With my little grasslands donkey, I’m going to Bethlehem.
With my little grasslands donkey, I’m going to Bethlehem.)

(chorus)
Si me ven, si me ven, voy camino de Belén.
Si me ven, si me ven, voy camino de Belén.

(English – If they see me, if they see me, I’m going to Bethlehem.
If they see me, if they see me, I’m going to Bethlehem.)

El lucerito mañanero
ilumina mi sendero
el lucerito mañanero
ilumina mi sendero

(English – The morning star
lights my path
The morning star
lights my path)

(sing chorus)

Con mi cuatrico voy cantando
mi burrito va trotando
con mi cuatrico voy cantando
mi burrito va trotando

(English – With my cuatrico I am singing
as my little donkey is trotting
With my cuatrico I am singing
as my little donkey is trotting

*note a cuatrico is a small instrument)

(sing chorus)

Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tuquí,
Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tu,
Apúrate mi burrito
Que ya vamos a llegar

Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tuquí,
Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tu,
Apúrate mi burrito
Vamos a ver a Jesús.

(English – Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tuquí,
Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tu,
Hurry up my donkey,
We are almost there.

Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tuquí,
Tuquí, tuquí, tuquí, tu,
Hurry up my little donkey,
We are going to see Jesus.)

Christmas Songs

Canciones de Navidad/ Songs of Christmas

The songs of Christmas are an important part of the holiday season in Dominican Republic. Both the traditional carols and the fun merengue tunes. Everyone loves to sing along.

Christmas | Songs | Decorations | Traditional Foods | Town and Neighborhood Traditions | Children – Three Kings Day | El Burrito de Belén song and lyrics | Christmas Words | Picture Collection – Christmas in Colonial Zone and Dominican Republic

Villancicos

Singing Christmas carols, known as villancicos, for the neighbors and inviting the singers in for a treat or a nice drink is a fun tradition here on the island. The drink is usually Té jengibre / Ginger tea (ginger tea recipe), coffee, and for imbibers ron/ rum. The caroling venture usually wrap-ups with a good party that includes drinking, dancing and in general a good time for all.

Christmas / Navidad lights at Brilliante Navidad
Christmas / Navidad lights at Brilliante Navidad

There are many Holiday songs here that are unique to the Dominican Republic and the other Latin American countries. Here, as in most of the Latin countries, many of the Christmas songs are accompanied by a merengue rhythm. This results in the Christmas carols being quite danceable, which all Dominicans delight in.

Some notable songs in this style are Volvió Juanita by Milly Quezada, Salsa pa tu lechón by Johnny Ventura, La trulla navideña by del Conjunto Quisquella.

The traditional Christmas songs in English cannot be translated word for word to make any sense in Spanish. Because of this many of the songs in Spanish can be totally dissimilar. Note also that in many cases the translations are far from literal because if they were translated word for word the rhythm and meaning of the song would be lost.

Spanish – English Christmas Songs

School children doing a Navidad Show in Parque Rosado
School children doing a Navidad Show in Parque Rosado.

Here are some names of English Christmas songs with their counterparts in Spanish.

*Ya llegó la Navidad/ Deck the Halls
*Feliz Navidad/ Merry Christmas
*Qué verdes son/ O Christmas Tree
*Adornemos Nuestras Casas/ Deck the Halls
*Venid, Adoremos/ O Come All Ye Faithful
*La Primera Navidad/ The First Noel
*Felixidad al Mundo/ Joy to the World
*Jesús en Pesebre/ Away in a Manger
*Campanas de Navidad/ I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
*Noche de Paz/ Silent Night
*Noche Sagrada/ O Holy Night
*A la Nanita, Nana/ Traditional Lullaby
*Los Tres Reyes/ We Three Kings
*El Niño del Tambor/ The Little Drummer Boy
*Los doce días de Navidad/ The 12 Days of Christmas
*Hoy en la tierra/ Angels We Have Heard on High
*¿Qué niño es éste?/ What Child Is This?

CASCABEL/ Jingle Bells

One of my favorite, simple Spanish carols is Cascabel. There are many different versions but the one I have here is my favorite version because it has the traditional Jingle Bells tune.

Es Noel, es Noel Suena el cascabel De un venado muy veloz Que tiene Santa Claus Corre ya, juega ya
Hoy es Navidad Los juguetes hay Que dar por Toda la ciudad Qué bonito es, Es correr con rapidez
Ir con Santa Claus y escuchar su voz Suena el cascabel Quiero ir con él Con mis amiguito
Y cantar feliz noel!!!!

Los peces en el río

Los peces en el río/ The Fishes in the River is a traditional Spanish Christmas Carol that is popular in Spain and Latin America alike. It is about how the fish in the river keep returning to where Mary is so they can see God being born. This is the songs estribillo/ chorus in Spanish and English.

Pero mira cómo beben, los peces en el río.
Pero mira cómo beben, por ver a Dios nacido.
Beben y beben, y vuelven a beber.
Los peces en el río, por ver a Dios nacer.

But look how the fish in the river drink.
But look how they drink in order to see the God who is born.
They drink and they drink and they return to drink,
The fish in the river to see God being born.
*El Burro y el Pavo/ The Donkey and the Turkey

El Pavo Y El Burro

El Pavo Y El Burro is a traditional children’s song Merengue style. It is the story of a turkey that lies around all year getting fat, making fun of the hard-working burro. Then Christmas comes. The turkey will be stuck like a pig. As the chorus says interpreted roughly” To all fat pigs Christmas Eve will arrive”

Listen to Bonny Cepeda “El Burro y El Pavo” MP3

Había una vez, según dice el cuento
Un pavo de granja, que vivía del cuento
Siempre se burlaba, de un burro que había
Trabajando siempre, de noche y de día.

(Chorus/ Estribillo)

El burro lloraba, el pavo reía. El burro lloraba, el pavo reía.
El burro lloraba, el pavo reía. El burro lloraba, el pavo reía.

Fue en un mes de mayo,
que el pavo llegó a la granja.
Y desde ese día el burrito no tuvo calma
El pavo sentado, riendo y gozaba
Diciéndole al burro, ¡Trabaja, trabaja!

(Chorus/ Estribillo)

Pasaron los meses–junio, julio y agosto
Y el pobre animal, volviéndose loco.
Septiembre y octubre, y luego noviembre
Y sufriendo así, le llegó diciembre.

(Chorus/ Estribillo)

Y faltando un día, para una gran fiesta
Llevaron el burro, a comprar la cena
Y al volver el burro, el pavo miró
Que no trajo carne, y le preguntó.

¿Donde está la carne que yo no la veo.
¿Donde está la carne… Donde está la carne?
¿Donde está la carne, que yo no la veo.
¿Donde está la carne… Donde está la carne?

El pavo nervioso, vuelve y preguntó
¿Donde está la carne? No la veo yo.
Y el burro riendo, con todos los dientes
Le responde al pavo, !Llegó tu diciembre!

El pavo lloraba, el burro reía. El pavo lloraba, el burro reía.
El pavo lloraba, el burro reía. El pavo lloraba, el burro reía.

El pavo lloraba, el burro reía. El pavo lloraba, el burro reía.
El pavo lloraba, el burro reía. El pavo lloraba, el burro reía.

For the complete lyrics and more Christmas songs along with their translations go to:
Spanish About.com, Villancicos de Navidad a las Arandelas, and Silvita Blanco – Villacicos de Navidad.

Continue Christmas Food

ColonialZone-DR.com, The Dominican Gringa Blog and Teli, The Dominican Dog have a video Christmas card for you. Felix Navidad.
www.colonialzone-dr.com/christmas-video

Los Indios De Las Augas

Myths & Legends/Mitos y Leyendas
Los Indios De Las Augas/ The Indians of the Waters

These Indians are the fabulous beings who inhabit caves. They can be found in submerged caves of rivers and lakes or inside the mountain caves. It is said that these were groups of escaped Taino Indians who kept up with their old traditions and ways. In order to do this they had to stay hidden.

These Indians are said to be very beautiful, especially the woman, because of her dark eyes, smooth black hair, and cinnamon colored skin. These beautiful women leave the waters on the nights of the full moon to detangle their long hair with gold combs.

Interpretation of Los Indios De Las Augas by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu

Some say they do not bother people and are quite generous. They share their knowledge of natural medicines and possess old and powerful magic. Others say that they are dangerous and fear to bathe in deep waters and unknown areas. Some say the indios de las aguas leave their caves to look for the men who may wander near. These men are taken to their caverns never to be seen again.

The children are warned not to sneak off to the “Pools of the Indians” because these Indians may take them never to be seen again. The “Mano Negra” will reach up from the dark waters and drag them into the water never to be seen again.

Do you think this is a way for parents to keep their children home at night and away from dangerous waters or could it really be that there is a dark hand waiting to pull them down forever to be lost…