(1/6/14) Well, if you haven’t noticed there is another holiday today in the DR. Today is part of the way Dominican celebrate Christmas. While celebrators in the United States give gifts on Christmas Day, Dominican give gifts a week later on “”El día de los tres reyes magos” or “Three Kings Day”. Today you will find many of the larger businesses closed although many of the smaller colmados and tiendas will be open in the morning.
I find it interesting that the Spanish name of the celebration includes the word “mago” meaning Magician, wizard, conjurer or prestidigitator (or astrologers). Usually this term isn’t used in English translations of the name of the Holiday although it is a more accurate translation for the term originally found in the bible which is in the original Greek “ma′goi” means Magi or Magician not “king”. Also the original bible text did not include the number of Magi that visited Jesus and his parents, the name of the holiday holds to the later adopted tradition that there were three men.
There are also other traditions that are sometimes held to in the Dominican Republic. One of the more interesting traditions is that these Magi described in the bible were kings and the tradition describes leaving hay and cigars for these “kings”. This is the tradition that is held to and organized by the “fire Brigade” through the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo”
As in the United States, Dominicans often decorate trees to use for Christmas trees. Often there are wrapped boxes left under the trees to look like gifts but in most cases these are only for show and are left empty. The Christmas tree decorations here can be quite creative. I’ve seen trees where people have hung up old CDs, bottle caps, painted plastic bottles, ribbon or other items.
As with most holidays here it is usually a good idea to be a little more careful when on the streets. Drinking and partying is very common and gets worse as it starts getting closer to the evening.