The first water of may
The majority of the Dominican Republic enjoys a humid tropical climate. This means high temperatures and heavy rains the same as the whole Caribbean Region.
As soon as May arrives, many Dominican people keep alert waiting for the first rain of May. This is a popular tradition that follows a ritual for good luck, as the proverb says: rain in May makes the hay More than a healing bath, this issue can even be considered as a remedy for any disease, mainly abdominal pain. As a common superstition, people believe that the first rain of May is good for child’s growth and skin rejuvenation and also as a remedy for intestinal parasites removal, harvest blessing or hair strengthening.
Certainly, the origin of this tradition, drinking rain water or bathing under the first rain of May, is unknown, even though this myth is shared in many Latin America countries where this rain water is even stored to consume during the year.
Perhaps, its origin, source or the beginning of this popular story has to deal with the need to solve a health problem. After a dry season, the heavy rains sweep along water impurities to contaminate wells, rivers and filtration spring, that’s why, the consumption of that bacteria-free water directly falling from the sky was a good method to prevent the fearsome diarrhea. As time goes by and the population hygiene habits were improving, this symbolic practice was reduced to just one glass of water.
Today, it is known that rain water does not have healing power, but as this is not scientifically proved to be effective indeed, many people keep alive this tradition learned from watching their grandpas drinking rain water and bathing under the first rain of May.
For farmers, downpours are sign of life and hope, especially long and difficult dry periods similar to those that have been experienced in the region over the last few years which have caused significant losses for agriculture and tourism sectors. In the Dominican Republic, with the exception of two water reservoirs, the rest ones only had minimal water levels that could only be used for irrigation purpose.