Christmas is a great time for celebration, eating and partying with family, friends and neighbors. In the Dominican Republic Christmas is particularly special, exciting and unique. There are a variety of fascinating traditions observed every time Christmas comes around that are tied to the history and culture of the Dominican Republic.
What do Dominicans do in the lead up to Christmas? What are some of the most popular Christmas culinary traditions in the Dominican Republic? What kinds of songs do Dominicans listen to during Christmas time? These are the kind of questions that you might have if you are interested in the Christmas traditions of the Dominican Republic.
In this blog, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Dominican Christmas Traditions, including:
- Dominican Republic Christmas Traditions
- Dominican Republic Christmas Food
- How can I send money to the Dominican Republic?
Dominican Republic Christmas Traditions
Christmas is a time for joy and celebration for Dominicans wherever they are in the world. Throughout the Dominican Republic many start getting in the festive spirit even before December. Then when the Christmas period begins they start visiting church, praying and spending time with family.
There are a variety of Christmas traditions to do with the church, decorations, music and food that are worth highlighting.
- La Noche Buena (Christmas Eve)
In the Dominican Republic, Christmas Eve is the most special day of the festive period. On La Noche Buena, Dominicans will gather in the evening for a major family feast. Traditional food and drink will be served and many Christmas songs will be sung.
Around half of all Dominicans are Catholic. Many of these Catholics will attend a midnight Catholic mass service, La Misa del Gallo, on Christmas Eve. In the Dominican Republic, the most popular La Misa del Gallo service is held at the Cathedral de Santa Maria in Santo Domingo.
Charamicos are basically the Dominican version of Christmas trees. There are not many fresh-cut fir or pine trees in the Dominican Republic, so this tradition of charamicos emerged. Essentially, charamicos are handcrafted wooden ornaments that are decorated with color, lights and trinkets. If you find yourself in the Dominican Republic during December you are likely to notice many charamicos dotted around in town squares and front porches.
Aguinaldos are the Dominican versions of Christmas caroling. Music is deeply ingrained in the culture and people of the Dominican Republic. Aguinaldos are the opportunity for everyone in your community to gather together and sing songs.
Usually the Aguinaldo will start with just a few people. Then as the Aguinaldo moves around the neighborhood, more and more singers will join and the songs will become increasingly loud and exciting. One of the most famous songs featured in Aguinaldos is “A Las Arandelas”
- Un Angelito
Gifts are an important part of Christmas wherever you are in the world. In the Dominican Republic, traditional Christmas gift-giving is called “Un Angelito” (A Little Angel). It is a tradition similar to Secret Santa in which participants pick a name from a bag. The person you choose is your Angelito and you have to buy them a little gift. On the day of the gift exchange you give your present to your Angelito and reveal your identity.
Fuegos artificiales are a significant Christmas tradition in the Dominican Republic. Throughout December, and especially on Christmas Eve, the skies above the Dominican Republic are lit up with colorful fireworks displays.
Dominican Republic Christmas Food
One of the best things about Christmas is the food. This is especially true in the Dominican Republic where food and family meals play such a vital role within the culture. Some of the traditional Christmas dishes in the Dominican Republic include:
- Puerco asada or lechón asado
The traditional Christmas meal eaten on Christmas Eve is usually a pork roast - Puerco asada or lechón asado. It is a delicious and traditionally Dominican dish that is often marinated and packed full of flavors. It is a dish that can be prepared in a variety of ways and many Dominicans will have their own particular way of cooking Puerco asada to ensure that their Christmas Eve meal is great.
- Moro de guandules
Rice with pigeon peas is a favorite for Dominicans are Christmas time. It serves as a great companion to any main meat or veggie dish served on Christmas Eve. As with all food that comes from the Dominican Republic, Mor de guandules is crammed full of flavor, herbs and a variety of spices.
Telera is a type of long soft bread that is usually only eaten during the Christmas holiday period. The bread is often yellowish in color and is traditionally served alongside the main Christmas meal.
Ponche is a cream-based holiday drink that is a regular feature of Dominican meals. At Christmas time you’re likely to find plenty of Ponche - a kind of eggnog consumed throughout the Caribbean. It is the ideal relaxing Christmas cocktail to accompany all the Pastelitos, wonderful Christmas music and dancing.
You are likely to find these foods and many more like them at any Dominican Christmas celebration. Food plays an important role throughout the Dominican Republic Christmas season and the Christmas family meal is often the most important gathering of the whole festive period.
Transfer Money to the Dominican Republic with Small World
If you want your loved ones to enjoy this Christmas period and put on some big celebrations then you may want to send them some money. If so, Small World is here for you.
Small World is a money transfer service that helps customers send money to every corner of the world. We facilitate millions of money transfers every year through simple, secure and efficient transfer services. If you need to send money to the Dominican Republic you could do this easily via Cash Pickup, Bank Deposit, Home Delivery or Airtime Top-Up.
We are also partnered with a number of banks in the Dominican Republic such as Banco BHD León, Banco Union and BanReservas to ensure that your money gets where it needs to be. So, if you need to support your loved ones in the Dominican Republic you can rely on Small World.
Your first transfer online is always free of fees!