Tag Archives: navidad

Dominican Christmas Words

Dominican Christmas Words

Some important Christmas/ Navidad words in Spanish and their English translations.

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

árbol de navidad / Christmas Tree on Calle el Conde

*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
Wise Men
*trineo – sleigh
*un villancico – Christmas carol
*vela – candle
*vuela – flies

Christmas Town Traditions

Traditions in Different Towns and Barrios in the Dominican Republic

Many of the towns throughout the Dominican Republic have their own special traditions for Navidad.

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

Throughout the Dominican Republic you will see Navidad decorations. Many of the streets are adorned with lights, trees and other unique items.

Many neighborhoods make their own decorations


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.

Decorations by the Junto de Vecinos San Lazaro about recycling

Colonial Zone

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.

Some Perico Ripiao being played under some Christmas decorations

The old neighbors and families usually come back to their neighborhood to meet and greet old friends. To see some videos I took of one of the parties and park picture go to my blog (opens in new window).


La Vega

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!

Continue…Christmas Words.

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

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.)