In the different towns and cities of the Dominican Republic, there are a number of beliefs that are transmitted from one generation to another and that are totally opposite to the modern reality.
There are still many people who take for granted, things that understanding cannot understand, even though it has been scientifically proven that they are simply myths in which people have put their faith.
The most popular and eccentric superstitions of the Dominican Republic involve objects, animals, flowers and plants, stars, elements, colors, precious stones and minerals; numbers, elements of the zodiac, particular conditions of an individual, among others. Each one has a history that is particular to it.
Superstitions have to do with legends, and with all kinds of questions that appear when looking for certainty in the world of magic and irrationality and exist since man is a man.
Popular beliefs are increasingly rooted in Dominicans and not only in the popular neighborhoods and fields of the country, but also in urban spaces, where middle class people and other more wealthy, come to implement certain beliefs to improve or strengthen the love, work or money does not go.
Here I describe some of the strange traditions and myths of the Dominican Republic:
“Bad Eye” (mal de ojos)
A widespread myth among Dominicans is the “bad eye”. It is about a beautiful little boy who can make some people envious, fearing that he will be put under a spell that can affect his health or cause his death. This is called the “bad eye”.
Therefore, when a person sees the child, is impressed and says “what a beautiful child”, person who is close, should end the exclamation by saying “God bless him!
As protection, a guard is placed on the wrist, which can be a jet bracelet, which, for greater effectiveness, must be assembled by a witch doctor for three consecutive Tuesdays. When the child has an evil eye, a witch doctor should be found to praise him and cure him of this magical illness.
Hiccups in newborns are usually relieved by placing a thread wet with saliva on the forehead, another myth that is widely practiced in the region of Cibao in the Dominican Republic.
In the Dominican Republic, there are beliefs that witches are capable of stealing the soul or life energy of infants at night.
It is believed that the witches fly at night to the roof of the houses or become a bird and then with straw they suck the infant, the way this can be proved is because the baby cries disconsolately at night.
When infants are restless, hardly sleeping at night and no matter how much they are fed, they are always weak, it is a sign that they are being sucked by witches.
Protection Charm (Resguardo)
In many places in the Dominican Republic, there is the belief of protective amulets created by witches, this can be a paper written with some prayers or some bracelet to wear on your feet.
Some people use these amulets to improve their economic situation and to protect themselves from bad spirits.
Another very common use that I have personally seen is among people who commit crimes, many use a bracelet on their feet, supposedly to protect them from being hurt while committing crimes.
According to popular belief, witch sorcerers have the ability to turn people into animals for their protection or for themselves to do their job better; they are the “galipotes”.
These by magic can escape when they are looking for them thanks to the ability to assume different forms of animals to be immune to knives, machetes and bullets, as well as the actions of prayers and guards.
When a person begins to progress economically in a rapid and incomprehensible way, people comment that it is thanks to having a “bacá”.
This, is a kind of pet or animal created to protect and make prosper its owner, can be a cat, dog, pig or any other animal, can also be transformed into different animals according to tradition.
This is achieved through a pact with the devil, who will give him wealth and property, receiving as punishment pain, illness, misfortune and losing little by little his loved ones, family and friends, culminating with himself.
Bread over the entrance door
Another very frequent tradition in the houses of the Dominican Republic is that of fixing a loaf of bread over the entrance door to the house.
This bread was usually nailed and hardened and remained for years on the door, the reason for this tradition was to ensure that the house never lacked food.
In other houses brooms are also placed above the entrance door, to “cleaning the arrival of bad energies to the house”.
Form a cross with the shoes in front of the bed
One of the customs that I always had, since I was a child that my grandmother taught me, was to form a cross in front of the bed with shoes or slippers.
This served as protection from bad spirits and protected me during sleep, I did this every night so I could sleep peacefully.
In the countryside of the Dominican Republic, there is much faith in the lightning stones. Many people believe that they are in front of a magic stone that serves as protection against thunder and lightning, because in the house where there is one of these, a thunder never falls, that is why it has been named “lightning stone”.
It is also considered that these stones are produced where an electric shock has fallen from these.
For more than a century, tales have been told of a creature that dwells in the shadows of the mountainous regions of the Dominican Republic.
A wild woman with long dark hair and upside-down feet. Which hunts the lonely peasants while harvesting cocoa, or the aspiring adventurer in search of new routes.
There are several versions of the story of the ciguapa, one describes her as a demon who hides in caves and lures men to devour them, the other describes her as a shy and elusive woman who does not let herself be seen by anyone.
It is said that the ciguapa is a creature of a race of dwarf people who lived in the mountains of the Dominican Republic.
A Rooster’s Crow
This is a personal story, in the neighborhood where I lived as a child, there was a rooster that crowed in a very unusual way.
I didn’t know who the rooster belonged to and it was very strange because where I lived, it was a crowded neighborhood and in the neighborhoods of the capital it is very strange that people have roosters.
This rooster used to crow very rarely and always in the middle of the morning. My grandmother always said that every time that rooster crowed someone from the surrounding area would die.
The funny thing is that, actually, of the occasions that I could notice that the rooster crowed, in the following days someone from the environment died, perhaps this was just a weird coincidence.
If you are interested, you can read this other topic I wrote about the most popular superstitions in the Dominican Republic.