Dominican Christmas Traditions (2)
– LO QUE SE ESCUCHA – What you hear:
- “CIMA, SABOR NAVIDEÑO” – Christmas officially appears on the radio when the special of “Cima, Sabor Navideño” is played. Actually, Cima 100.5 FM is a radio station known by its extensive selection of classic merengues (typical Dominican music) in its programming, which is heard by people of all ages. One of its most popular specials is “Cima Sabor Navideño“, which reaches all Dominican homes at the end of the year with all the typical merengues of that season. This special segment has been transmitting for many years, and it is already a criolla tradition.
- MAÑANITAS NAVIDEÑAS / AGUINALDOS – A relative ‘cold’ during this period of time accompanied by the warm and happy feeling among the people, plus the desire to share with others increased… All this adds up during the celebration of aguinaldos/mañanitas. This tradition goes hand in hand with the Pastoral Juvenil (Youth Ministry); a group of people who lead in the church, and realize positive activities in the community. The young people of the pastoral gather early in the morning with instruments of typical music (güira, tambora, tamborine), make ginger tea, and go along the neighbor, house to house, singing Christmas songs. Whoever opens the door must follow the group through the entire route set. The songs that are always played are; the carol “Alegre Vengo de la Montaña” and songs from the traditional group Conjunto Quisqueya, such as “De la Montaña Venimos“. (Conjunto Quisqueya Medley).
- VILLANCICOS NAVIDEÑOS: The closer Christmas Day is, the higher the chances are to hear Christmas carols on the streets; people who are willing to entertain an environment in a surprising way to get a smile from those present. It has become a habit also during some mañanitas the ‘give away’ something, whether money or a hot chocolate, to those who sing. Several songs that are traditionally heard during the Christmas season in the Dominican Republic: Christmas Carols
- “YA SE SIENTE la brisita navideña” – In a Caribbean country, where the sun embraces us almost daily and the heat is felt even in people, the relatively ‘low’ temperature that starts in mid-December is always welcome. It gives us the first illusion of Christmas.
- “DAME mi Navidad” – Phrase used by all those who have given us a service (public, generally) during the year; in other words, they are asking for a ‘gift’ (tip / donation). Up to policemen use it during Christmas to get ‘something extra’ in the streets.
– LO QUE SE VE – What you see:
- “VOLVIÓ JUANITA”: The arrival area of the airport is the place par excellence where you hear the happy phrase of “volvió Juanita” (Juanita returned), referring to Dominicans who return to the country from abroad during the Christmas holidays. It comes from the famous merengue song with the same title name of the beloved singer Milly Quezada (Milly and the Neighbors): Volvió Juanita
- CHRISTMAS Street Food: It is remarkable how, the closer Christmas is, the more food stalls appear on the streets. In the northern area, more varied food stalls (fruits, piglets, sweets, etc.) are exhibited than in the rest of the country. The fruits most sold mainly in December are grapes and apples.
- La Fiesta de TELEMICRO: It has become a tradition to watch on TV the Christmas party that GRUPO TELEMICRO arranges for all its employees. It is broadcast live on several national and international channels of the company. Attendees can enjoy live music and a buffet with all the essentials of a Christmas dinner.