Saturday, October 15, 2011

If your name is Rosario, it means, as most people know, "rosary."

Lest we forget, there is also a family named "Rosario" or "del Rosario."

I imagine a woman named Rosario once married a man from the Rosario family.  She's be Rosario Rosario.  That's why it's sad when we drop the "de," "del," "de la" or "de los."  Rosario del Rosario sounds kinda nice.

October is the Month of the Rosary, and October 7 was the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

For its background, check out


The Spanish word "rosario" would have been hard for our mañaina to pronounce.  First of all, there's the R, which we normally change to L (as in gitåla, instead of guitarra; or kuchåla, instead of cuchara.)

Then there's the Y sound in the "rio" part of "rosario."  So, we make it a Chamorro Y (as in Yigo).  That's also how Spanish "Dios" or "God" became Yu'us.

Chamorro Hymns about the Rosary

Ta Fan Lisåyo

Probably the best known Chamorro hymn concerning the rosary.  The melody is taken from a traditional Spanish hymn to the rosary, and to Saint Dominic Guzman, the Dominican founder who promoted it.  Listen to the Spanish melody in the video clip above.

Ta fan lisåyo / kåda ha'åne
sa' i Santos Lisåyo / yåben i langet.

(Let us pray the rosary / every day
because the holy rosary / is the key to heaven.)

Na' manman i lisåyon / Sånto Domingo
i tumataitai maulek / ti u falingo.

(Wonderful is the rosary / of Saint Dominic
he who prays it well / will not be lost.)

But there is also this little ditty of a hymn to the rosary.  It speaks about Mary as mother of the angels, those on earth and those in Purgatory.

O gai lisåyo Bithen Maria, mames na Nånan i Anghet siha;
opan gi langet : Åbe Maria, åbe bula hao grasia.

(O Virgin Mary of the rosary, sweet mother of the angels;
it resounds in heaven : Hail Mary, hail full of grace.)

O gai lisåyo Bithen Maria, mames na Nånan i Taotao siha;
opan gi tano' : Åbe Maria, åbe bula hao grasia.
(O Virgin Mary of the rosary, sweet mother of the people;
it resounds on earth : Hail Mary, hail full of grace.)

O gai lisåyo Bithen Maria, mames na Nånan i Ante siha;
opan gi guafe : Åbe Maria, åbe bula hao grasia.
(O Virgin Mary of the rosary, sweet mother of the souls;
it resounds in the fire : Hail Mary, hail full of grace.)


Unfortunately, most people today don't realize the full Chamorro tradition of singing a verse before every decade of the rosary.  There were even two different versions one could sing, adding variety to this custom.  These verses explained the meaning of each separate mystery of the rosary.

Give me time and I'll record them and put them on the blog.


Here's something that will show if you're from Guam or Saipan.  In both places, the prayer of the rosary is called lisåyo.  But on Guam, both the beads themselves and the prayer are called lisåyo, while on Saipan, just the prayer itself is called lisåyo.  The beads are called misterio.  On Guam, you both pray the lisåyo and buy a lisåyo.  On Saipan, you pray the lisåyo but buy a misterioMisterio, as you have guessed, means "mystery" or "mysteries," meaning the mysteries of the rosary.


That's the Chamorro nickname for Rosario.  Ro - SARIO becomes CHARO.


An interesting story about how the praying of the Rosary was credited for the Catholic victory over the invading Turks in 1571.
Check it out at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post about the Rosario name. I did not realize its meaning (i.e. rosary).

    I have an inkling that my GG grandfather, Arnold Rosario, came to Hawaii (where I live) from Guam back in the 1800s.

    Previously, I had clues that he came to Hawaii from the Philippines but your post about the Aflague sisters (one of the Rosario offspring (a cousin of mine) has a tie to Mary Aflague Lewis) got me to thinking that Arnold may not have hailed from the Philippines.

    So thanks!