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”.
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.
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.
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.
*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.
*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.
*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 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.
Drugs and Dominican Republic are a real no-no. If you do get caught with ANYTHING they will take you to jail and it most likely WILL be a long time before you get out. Even if you are in a place and you see some drugs or drug dealing my advice to you is to get out of there and fast! Here in DR they are known to arrest everyone in a place and ask questions later, sometimes much later. (Read The Dominican Gringa Blog story on the Big Almost Drug Bust -new window)
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! You could get the runs or worse. Drink bottled water, which most places have unless you are in remote areas. Ice is usually OK also because it is purchased from water distributors and is clean (ask if you want to make sure). The shaved ice vendors, ice in your juice or coco water that is purchased in the street is a definite NO-NO. It may not be a problem but even if you change your water anywhere from well water to city water you can have unwanted results. Why take the chance and have a bummer (LOL!) of a vacation?
Do just as you would in any other place. If you were in a strange neighborhood and there was a lonely, dark street or alley would you walk down it? I don’t think so. Use your head; you are in unfamiliar surroundings in a country where many people make less than $200 USD a month working a full time job (44 hours a week). Do not act better than anyone else. Do not wear your best designer clothing and expensive jewelry.
Try and carry a noise maker. Be it a loud car alarm, a hand held one, or your outside voice. If you do get robbed make noise. Robbers hate noise and attention drawn to them. Vigilantism lives in Dominican Republic and people love to help when they see someone being wronged.
Try some new foods. You never will know if you like it unless you try it. I highly recommend Mondongo. Never ask what it is. Just give it a try, then after you like it you can ask what it is, if you’re brave. Mondongo is the best after a night out partying if you feel like you will have a hangover (Resaca in Dominican Spanish). At least this is what I am told and so far it has worked wonders! There is also medicine sold in Colmados (the corner stores) that you take for a hangover, just say ” resaca” and they will know what you need.
Clap when the Airplane lands. Dominicans normally do this. Don’t be shocked. If they do it on your plane, just join in. You are on vacation. Relax.
It is not only what you know but also whom you know that makes dealing with many things go much smoother here in Dominican Republic. I also suggest asking around. Talk to the locals and see which businesses they recommend. Also remember to take your time. Dominicans love to talk. They like to take things slow. It is too hot to get worked up over the little things. Take time, get to know who you are dealing with and just enjoy the chatter.
Lip Talk. Dominicans, especially women, talk with their lips or noses (sort of like a Bewitched thing). They do not use words, just a flick or twitch to the right or left or a quick pout. This says more than any word ever could. Maybe the lips puckered for a quick second is saying, “yea, right, sure, I believe you.” (sarcasm). When getting directions no need to point just a lip flick to the left, right or straight ahead and one knows just what direction in which to precede. It takes some time to figure out what all the movements mean but it is fun trying to learn. So if you see people, especially the ladies, making nose and lip gestures you now have a better idea what is happening.
Men with guns. Don’t let this scare you. It sure frightened me the first time I visited. I never saw people sitting around so nonchalantly with a gun on their lap or hanging over their shoulders in public areas. It is quite the norm to see men, uniformed and in street clothes, standing or sitting in front of homes and businesses. Don’t be too worried. They are most likely private security guards
Do not start any altercation with anyone. No exchange of harsh words. No physical contact. Walk away. Do Not fight. This is not easy sometimes but it is best for your safety. Remember if the police get involved EVERYONE goes to jail until they figure out the details (sometimes until they get a little payment).
Make copies of all your documents. Carry the copies (unless your driving you do need the original drivers license). Put a copy of your passport or some type of identification in each piece of your luggage. Always carry a copy of your passport with you in a different place where you have the original. Have all the numbers of your credit cards and contact information in case there is a problem or your cards get stolen then you will not have to search for the information. Scan everything front and back, Credit Cards, ID’s, Bank Cards, Passports and email them to yourself. This way if anything gets lost or stolen you have all the information right there.
Keep your doors locked. Keep the hotel doors locked if you are inside or outside. Keep the car doors locked, especially when driving at night in a rental or a taxi, just keep the doors locked. You can also get an alarm to put on your hotel door for added safety.
Think twice before taking a stranger into your hotel room or car. They can rob you much easier this way. If taking a bed partner to your room make sure all your belongings are secure. Better yet, take the person to a Cabana (a sex hotel where you are charged by the hour) or another room someplace else. This way they cannot gain access to your belongings, documents and money.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas