The “ad galli cantus or crow of a rooster” refers to the beginning of a new day. The Midnight Mass symbolizes the coming into life of the son of God
In the Dominican Republic, the arrival of the Christmas it means joy, family and friends gatherings, parties, gift exchanges, but also a time of reflection and communion with God.
This is celebrated by countries with different traditions, which give it a special touch that is sometimes determined by culture or geographic location.
The most representative activities of our country carried out at this stage of the year, according to the sociologist Roldán Mármol, were inherited by the Spanish, among which the birth of the baby Jesus stood out, the day in which the parishioners attend the “Misa del Gallo or Los Pastores”, held every December 25, which begins at 12:00 midnight and the reception of the new year on the 31st.
“Religious processions, baths to get rid of bad vibes and attract good luck in the economy, health and even in love, are the most powerful popular traditions in our culture,” they say.
Some historians explain that this religious tradition (Misa de Gallo) has its origin in the 5th century when the Pope Sixtus III He established the custom of celebrating a night vigil mass at midnight on the day of celebration of the birth of the Messiah.
But this is not the only theory that exists about this celebration, another is that it arose in the basilica of S. Petrum in Gallicantum (Saint Peter in Gallicantu) in Jerusalem and that it is in that church where the name is born based on Jesus’ warning to Peter, where he assured him that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed.
What are the main Christmas traditions in the Dominican Republic?
In addition to the usual Midnight Mass or of the Shepherds. There is the celebration of Christmas Eve that is celebrated every December 24.
In this activity each member tends to eat different dishes such as Russian salad, pigeon pea moro, telera, suckling pig or baked pork, chicken and some fruits such as red apples, grapes and raisins.
Other dishes that are not lacking are the cakes in leaves, typical of the East of the country, made with a dough with plantains, green bananas, auyama, yautías, yucca, stuffed with meat, marinated with vija to give it the characteristic color and wrapped in banana leaves. and tied with thread.
Little angels or secret exchanges
The true meaning of Christmas is the exchange of gifts popularly known as “little angels”. This is one of the most authentic customs of these dates, a tradition that arises with the delivery of gifts that, according to history, are brought to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem by the Magi.
The sociologist urges Dominicans not to let these festivities die and to take advantage of this to live more with family and loved ones.
Los Angelitos usually starts from the first days of December until the last working day of that month. The dynamic is given through a raffle of little papers with the names of those who will participate.
The participants will have to secretly give away the established days to the person who has touched them on the piece of paper. The name must be kept secret until the last day.
The Christmas bonuses, songs and ginger
Mármol stated that Christmas bonuses are the oldest traditions that have been part of Dominican Christmas. The classic throughout the years is “A las arandelas”, written in 1908 by the popular poet Juan Antonio Alix, a song that reflects joy and invites family togetherness.
“The issue of Christmas bonuses, all those community celebrations that are very collective and widespread at the national level have already remained as some demonstrations that take place in some places, especially in the congregations of young people in churches. The Christmas bonuses where several people gathered to sing harmonized typical merengues to the rhythm of drums and güiras have been reduced ”, he explained.
The aguinaldos go accompanied by a rich chocolate with ginger or tea.
Ginger is a flowering plant from Southeast Asia. Specialists say that this spice is the healthiest and most beneficial on the planet. Contains gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The Ripiao Parakeet
This is a typical music, which has its origins in the Cibao area, plays a leading role at Christmas.