The Town of Moca has a legend: “¡Llegó un Jinchaíto de moca!”
According to legend families living in the Moca area in the early 20th century were people of white color with straight hair, blue eyes and a little plump. The families living here used the water from the stream Juan Lopez for their water supply. Along came a drought and the stream dried up almost completely. The only water left in the area where large “puddles” of water.
These small reservoirs of water soon became contaminated. The thirsty people living in Moca had no other place where they could get their water so they had no choice but to use this nasty water. The Mocanos (The name was given to the inhabitants of the Moca area) who used this contaminated water started to have a swollen (in Spanish the word is hinchadas) appearance. When these swollen people left Moca and went to town the people called them `the jinchaítos of Juan Lopez”.
This name, Jinchaíto, is still used today. The Mocanos still hear ‘‘¡Llegó un Jinchaíto de Moca!’’ / “There goes a Jinchaito from Moca!” coming from the babbling waters of the arroyos as they flow past.
Carnaval El Jinchaíto
Today the famous Carnival Character from Moca is the swollen faced “El Jinchaíto”.
Beautiful and intimate Plazoleta / Small Plaza Padre Billini, named after and dedicated to Padre Billini who contributed many important things to the Dominican Republic. Here his statue, made by French sculptor Ernest Gilbert, stands proudly.
Padre Francisco Xavier Billini (December 1, 1837 – March 9, 1896), known as the protector of the poor man. He was also a great Philanthropist. Billini founded the National Lottery in 1882 to help pay for the poorest patients of the Hospital de la Beneficencia. This was the first charity hospital in the Dominican Republic, later known as Hospital San Andrés. We now know the hospital as Hospital Docente Padre Billini located on Calle Santomé in the Colonial Zone.
The Legend of La Casa de Garay
Where this Plazoleta Padre Billini is now, there once was a large beautiful house, The Casa de Garay. This private home was built around 1520. It was torn down because of a disagreement between neighbors.
A widow, who lived in her home where La Bricola Restaurant is located (across the street from the Plaza), saw a sight from her window. A slave from the Casa de Garay decided to milk their masters’ cow in the middle of the street. The elderly lady complained. The owners of the House of Garay made a nasty comment about this. The widows’ nephew heard about the comment and came to his elderly aunts’ defense. He wanted to defend the family name of Franco Medina.
The nephew wanted the owner of the slave to apologize. They even offered to purchase the slave so they could punish him and end the dispute. The owner refused. It was against the law to speak badly or defame someone’s character. It was a very serious offense (and still is in the Dominican Republic). A long court battle entailed because they questioned the persons’ honor. The elderly woman won the lawsuit.
In this time in history, many lawsuits were settled by giving the losers home to the winner of a suit. The owner of the lost home said angrily (general translation) “It’s easy for anyone to get rich!” The Franco Medina family, who won the property, announced that the house will not be lived in by me or anyone. They destroyed the home because they did not want the owner to think the Medina family fought and won just to take the home.
The empty lot was turned into a plaza. This plaza has had many different names over time, including Plaza de las Franco, Plaza de las Lebrón and Plaza de las Mañón. Finally, Damián Báez (the son of Presidente Buenaventura Báez), purchased the property to make a plaza dedicated to Padre Billini.
Plaza Padre Billini Now
The small plaza has benches under large shade trees where you can sit and enjoy the breeze. It is now half occupied by some of the restaurants that line the site. These restaurants are nice but expensive places. You can sit outside in the Plaza or inside the enclosed restaurants or private patios to have a meal and a drink.
They hold many special events in the Plaza from meetings with the President to small intimate weddings. It is a great place to take wedding pictures too.
Walking from Calle el Conde turn on Arzobispo Meriño south toward the sea. Walk about a block and a half and small plaza, Plazoleta Padre Billini, is on the left side before you get to Calle Padre Billini.
Dominican Republic Myths and Legends / República Dominicana Mitos y Leyendas
The myths and legends of the Dominican Republic are so interesting / Los mitos y leyendas de la República Dominicana son tan interesantes.
Myths and Legends are a way to help understand the culture of the people of this island in the Caribbean. Stories about mythical beings and legends of the unexplained. Yes, we have those in the Dominican Republic. As in all cultures, these stories handed down over the generations, are used to try and explain the unexplainable or a way to keep children in line.
I loved writing this section of the website. I hope you enjoy the stories as well.