Saturday, April 7, 2012


Today is the day, in the past, that weeping and wailing and the crack of the kuåtta (cowtail whip) were heard all over Guam.

All during Kuaresma (Lent), certain rules were supposed to be followed.  One was silence.  But if you punished the child for breaking silence, that would make him or her cry, and that in itself would break the silence.

So parents and grandparents waited till today - Såbalon Loria - Holy Saturday - to dish out the spanking and whipping that was carefully calculated based on all the Lenten infractions mentally stored in the memories of the mañaina.

It was called Loria because, in those days, Mass was said in the morning on this day, and the Gloria (Loria) was sung once more since the time it was forbidden in Lent.  In those days, Lent ended with this Saturday morning Mass and the penalized kids could cry all they want.

Some Chamorros could not easily pronounce Gloria, so they said Loria.  But other people could and did say Gloria.  That's why you'll hear it said both ways.

Martha and Elena recall experiences of Såbalon Loria.  It was so associated with spanking, that Loria became a word on its own, meaning "to be punished on Såbalon Loria."  Ma loria hao!  You were loria'ed!

Another custom, for some people, which is really a folk belief, is for the kids to jump up and down on Såbalon Loria so they can grow taller.

Martha says her grandma would have the windows opened to allow the graces of the day to come in.  Why not?

She also says she would go out and shake trees so they would produce more fruit that year.  I wonder if shaking wallets might produce a similar effect.

It's interesting that Såbalon Loria was both a fearful day (for those being punished) and an auspicious day of grace and blessing, since Easter, the resurrection of Christ, was already in the air.

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard this phrase! Very interesting!