Wednesday, April 11, 2012


How lucky am I to have the talented Ruby Aquiningoc Santos sing and play this for me?  And Lawrence makes a good birthday boy, even though his birthday is months past.

The Chamorro version of the Happy Birfday Song is quite simple, consisting of just one line of two words : Biba Kumpleåños.

Kumpleåños is borrowed from the Spanish word, and broken down it means "completing" (cumple) "years" (años).

Biba is also borrowed from the Spanish (Viva!) and it literally means "may you, he, she or it live," as in "live long!"  But Chamorros use Biba! as a celebratory exclamation of joy or glee.

Spaniards never say Biba Kumpleåños.  Instead, they say "Feliz cumpleaños."  Call it "Spanish the Chamorro way" to say Biba Kumpleåños.


Kumpleåños, as we mentioned, really means "completing years."  "Anniversary" is a good synonym for it.  So, kumpleåños does not refer just to the anniversary of one's birth.  You can observe the kumpleåños of someone's death (Kumpleåños Finatai) or one's wedding (Kumpleåños Umakamo' or Kumpleåños Kasamiento or Kumpleåños Umassagua).

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