Sunday, April 1, 2012


Chamorros have old customs concerning the palms that are blessed every year on Palm Sunday.

Tommy points out that the palms were burned inside the house in cases of typhoons (påkyo), earthquakes (linao), natural calamities (iran Yu'us) and evil spirits (manailaye na espiritu).

Tan Maria shares how the man åmko' would burn the blessed palms when there was thunder and lightning (hulu yan låmlam).  The man åmko' would get all the kids to sing :

Såntos, Såntos, Såntos Saina
tres yan uno ha' na Yu'us!
(Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
three persons and one God!)

The houses in Hagåtña were so close to each other that, sometimes, one house would answer the other house when this song was sung or prayers said when the weather turned bad.

How bland our society is now compared to those days of palpable Christian culture.

To keep the påtma bendita (blessed palms) close at hand, we put them around crucifixes and religious statues in our homes.

Superstition?  Or prayer?

There is a big difference between superstition and prayer.  Superstition and magic place confidence in man's mechanical works; do this or that and this or that will happen.  Prayer has nothing to do with that.  Prayer places confidence in Almighty God.  But prayer can be done with physical acts, like the time the sick woman reached out and touched the hem of Christ's garment.  Or when the early Christians used cloths touched by an Apostle for healing, or when Saint James told the elders of the church to lay hands on the sick.  When we pray, we have no guarantee that our will is done, but that God's will be done.  Superstition and magic are ways people (mistakenly) try to control the outcome of things, and have nothing to do with prayer.

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