Monday, October 3, 2011


Sireno is taken from the Spanish word sereno, which means several things, but one of them is "the night dew."  For Chamorros, the sireno is that time after sunset all the way till dawn, when the cool night air is said to bring illness.

Chamorros are very aware of the differences between the heat of the day and the cool of the night, and believe that moving from one extreme to the other is bad for our health.  Even today, going from the air conditioned car or room to the heat of the outdoors is routinely blamed for colds, coughs and flus.

In pre-war Guam, the night really could be cool.  Just go south where there is less traffic, asphalt and housing and you can detect the coolness of the night air, especially in the hills.  One January evening on Capitol Hill in Saipan, at a social gathering held in the lawn, it got so cool I actually wanted a sweater.

The man åmko' tried to avoid going out in the sireno.  If one went out, you were ordered to "tåmpe i ilu-mo!"  Cover your head!
"Båba i sireno!
Tåmpe i ilu-mo!"

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