*el acebo – holly
*árbol de navidad – Christmas tree
*bambalinas – ornaments
*bastón de dulce – candy cane
*la cabalgata – On 6th January there is a Christmas parade, the
principal characters are the “magi kings” who drive around
the city on *a float and shower the children and people with
sweets and other presents.
*campana – bell
*cascabel – sleigh bell
*duende – elf
*dulce – a piece of candy
*el espíritu navideño – the Christmas spirit
*el espumillón – tinsel
*¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo! – Merry Christmas and a
Prosperous New Year!
*galleta – cookie
*hombre de nieve – snow man
*luces – Christmas Tree lights
*muérdago – mistletoe
*navidad – Christmas
*nieve – snow
*noche buena – Christmas eve
*ornamento – decorations
*oye – hear
*Papá Noel – Father Christmas
*polo norte – north pole
*pone – hang
*prende – light an object
*un ramo de Navidad – a Christmas wreath
*reno – reindeer
*los Reyes Magos – the Three Kings, the Three
*trineo – sleigh
*un villancico – Christmas carol
*vela – candle
*vuela – flies
Throughout the Dominican Republic you will see Navidad decorations. Many of the streets are adorned with lights, trees and other unique items.
Most of the street decorations in the neighborhoods are purchased by the Junta de Vecinos (these are the locally elected governments, that are elected, voted on by the neighborhood, to take care of representing them when there is a problem and setting up events). The few months before December you may see some bake sales and people selling crafts and other items. The money collected goes for the purchase of the neighborhood decorations and sometimes for a band or entertainment for the neighborhood and anyone that happens to join in.
In Colonial Zone there are many different parties throughout the holiday season. Some times entire roads are closed for a big band to set up and play so everyone can dance and enjoy throughout the night. Other times the neighbors get together in their local park and share food and drink.
The town of La Vega celebrates la Verbena de Navidad. In this celebration the entire town parades through the street celebrating and enjoying. Lines of people hold hands, walking behind the town’s band of musicians. The tempo of the parade picks up and you have to run to keep up with the multitude of humans. As the parade nears its finish people are running, still holding their hands. You best keep up with the crowd or you tumble to the ground. Many lose shoes and other items, but it is a good time and a fun tradition
I will add more as I learn about them…
Feliz Navidad! Feliz Navidad!
Feliz Navidad! Prospero año y felicidad!
Feliz Navidad! Feliz Navidad!
Feliz Navidad! Prospero año y felicidad!
is always one of the holiday favorites. They are easy to prepare and easy to serve. Since there are always guests in the house or people visiting one can always find some soup/ asopao or sancocho (recipe for sancocho) cooking and ready for serving during the entire holiday season.
Nochebuena/ Christmas Eve
is a big celebration and a very large and substantial dinner is served with food, food and more food. Food and family. Food and friends. Food and neighbors. Usually, there is lots of drinking as well. Everyone is stuffed to the brim and still desires more. Christmas Day is for left overs and recuperation.
prepared painstakingly by the ladies, sometimes men help a little, are so incredible. The aromas, along with the ambiance, throughout the house are wondrous.
The Roast Pork/ Puerco Asado
and Roast Chicken/ Pollo Asado is very important. The Pork is my favorite. I love the crispy skin.
Potato Salad or Russian Salad/ Ensalada Rusa
is splendid. It has cooked potatoes, peas, carrots, egg and a little mayonnaise. This recipe is usually a family secret.
Green Salad/ Ensalada Verde
which always seemed more of a red to me because of all the tomatoes.
Pasteles en hojas
are everyone’s all-time favorites. Not easy to make but worth the time and effort (My Dominican family, as do many other families, cheats and buys them pre made). Closely resembling a tamale they are wrapped in a banana leaf and tied with string to make a nice little torpedo shaped package. Inside this green wrapping is a yellow roll filled with res/ beef, cerdo/ pork, pollo/ chicken, pescado/ fish, bacalao/ cod fish, queso/ cheeze, vegetales/ vegatables or a mixture of a few of these. Served steaming hot one could add a little kechu/ ketchup, salsa picante/ hot sauce, mayonnaise/ mayonesa or eaten plain. Any filling or any condiment topping them for me is wonderful. They originated in San Cristóbal when doña Isabel Coiscou created the recipe and started distributing the tasty food throughout the island.
is a Long, Crusty bread. This bread is what we wait for. It has such a great flavor we always buy more than we need. It also makes a great crust for pizza toppings.
Sweets, Cookies and Cake/ Dulces, Galletitas y Biscochos.
These are a given as gifts and served to guests as well. There are so many varieties to chose from, including the Christmas Pudding/ Pudim Navideno.
Fruits and nuts
are abundant before and after dinner for munching. In the past Apples/ Manzanas, Grapes/ uvas, Pears/ peras were considered very special as they were not readily available like they are today. My friend told me that when she was young and received an apple it was a very special treat usually reserved for the Christmas season. Some of the nuts that are Christmas traditions are Hazelnuts/ coquitos, Pan de Fruta (served nice and hot), Almonds/ almendras and Walnuts/ nueces. These are many times brought from the USA as a present/ regala from visiting family. We always tell family and friends coming for holiday to make sure they bring us nuts.
, of course, include red wine with dinner and rum. There is also Eggnog/ Ponche de huevos, sometimes with some rum added for good measure. The after dinner drink, Anis del Mono/ Monkey Anise, is one of my most favorite. It is an anise drink that that many people make in the home for the best flavor. The Aunts/ Tias of a friend of mine makes the best I ever tasted.
is a drink made with ginger root. It is non-alcoholic and ordinarily only drunk during the colder months in Dominican Republic. It is a very warming beverage and is many times drunk for the flu as well. It is made by boiling ginger root and cinnamon. To this is added heaps of sugar to make a tea. It is quite delicious.(recipe for té de jengibre)
when everyone has stuffed themselves to the brim it is time to relax. We pull up the chairs and sit on the porch. Talking to the people in the street passing by. Everyone is so festive.
The ladies go to the neighbors that can’t get out or cook for themselves and take plates of food. We drink some rum or some beer and enjoy. It’s fun to make the rounds and stop and visit some close friends. But always end up back home to hang out with the family. Even for me, I have no blood family in the Dominican Republic, my adopted Dominican family has made me feel like one of them. I am right at home and they accept me during all holidays and special occasions.