Dominican New Year’s Traditions
Updated: Jan 6
Celebrating the arrival of a new year is always exciting and what better way to do it than in this paradisiacal place in the Caribbean that offers, in addition to incredible beaches, unique traditions that you will love.
The Dominican Republic is one of the most fun places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. During New Year’s Eve in Punta Cana, you’ll find thrilling nightlife, fantastic food, friendly locals and much more. Just like all other countries, the Dominican Republic also follows its own traditions to celebrate the special day of New Year or Año Nuevo.
New year celebrations are done at home with family members and close friends. Many Dominican families use to perform different rituals and traditions to attract good luck in the coming year.
Here we leave you some of the most important rituals.
One of the most important traditions that Dominicans use is cleaning the homes before the New Year rolls in. Traditionally, it is believed that New Year brings a new life and hence it should be welcomed in a proper manner by discarding everything that is old. Cleaning every part of their house signifies arrival of good luck for them and they wash away anything that’s old and no more needed.
Many efforts are made in order to ensure that ones home is fit to welcome the New Year. For example, at Midnight on New Years it is customary to keep all doors and windows open so that the evil spirits may exit allowing for the good ones to enter. Old brooms are left outside the doors to later be discarded. Some may go as far as to have their homes blessed with Holy Water.
Take out a suitcase
If you dream of taking trips, immediately it's 12 midnight, take the suitcase you have and run out into the street with it. This is said to ensure travel.
The twelve grapes
It consists of eating twelve grapes, one for each stroke, at 12 o'clock at night from December 31 to January 1, because it supposedly brings good luck for the new year.
Light candles of different colors
It is said that if you light multi-colored candles it will grant you various things during the new year. The green candle is to ask for health, the yellow one will bring abundance, the blue one symbolizes peace, the orange color will give you intelligence and the red one will ignite passion.
Different colored clothes
To have luck in the new year, Dominicans follow many unusual customs. The first rule is to wear the right color of clothes during the big night. Each color represents different wishes: white for good health, green for money, and yellow for better work opportunities.
When the clock strikes midnight, the New Year is greeted with a bang! Streets and homes are filled with cheering and exuberant hugging of friends and family. Anyone who happens to be about on the street is included in the celebration, too! Fireworks might be set off, and the party begins.
It is necessary to burn a little incense to purify the home on New Year's Eve. This tradition dates back to the indigenous Taíno people who lived on the island. Many people use a "Jumera". The most typical is made with a can with charcoal / charcoal inside. It comes with a small scent bag specifically for good luck and scare away evil spirits and some lighting sticks.
After a traditional meal with family and close friends at home, the Dominicans usually hit the town. This might be a beach party, or a club.
Wherever the party’s at, the Dominicans are in their element. They will dance and rejoice until the sun comes up, and beyond! It’s important to start the year as you mean to go on: in a spirit of joy and celebration!
New Year’s Day
Is usually a chill affair, spent with family in rest and often prayer for the future. Some households will have a priest come to bless the house with holy water and spoken blessings. For many in this Catholic country, this is a key part of transitioning from one year into the next.
We wish you the best year 2022, may it be full of love, greetings and joy!
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By Veronica Rodriguez