Wednesday, September 10, 2014


At least a week after the person is buried, rearrange the bedroom and all its furniture.

If there's anything worse for old-time Chamorros than someone dying, it's the return of that someone who died!

When we send them off to the afterlife, we want them to stay there!

We love and miss them, but that doesn't mean we want them showing up at the foot of our bed in the middle of the night. Or pinching us in our sleep. Or making noises and moving framed pictures.

We'll pray for their eternal repose and hopefully meet them again in heaven. But, for now, we want them to wait till that glorious day and save their visits for later, not now.

Now, what has this to do with the custom, observed by some, of rearranging the bedroom furniture after the burial?

According to one elder,

"Åmbres gi halom homhom un tungo' ha' måno i chalan." (Even in the dark, you know where the path is.)

One knows the lay of the land of one's bedroom so well from being in it so often that, even in the darkness, one can find his way. How much more a spirit that returns from the dead can find its way through the darkness of the bedroom when it wants to visit the survivors.

But if you rearrange the furniture,

"Yanggen måtto ta'lo i espiritu ti u tungo'." (If the spirit comes again, he won't know the way.)

Poor grandma! "Håye pumo'lo i kaohao guine mågi? Eståba guennao guato!" (Who put the storage chest over here? It used to be over there!)

So, forgive us, grandma if you stub your toe on your way into the bedroom. It's just our way of saying, "Let's just meet again on Judgment Day. For now, we need to sleep!"

1 comment:

  1. I remember holy water being sprinkled if "funny" things are happening after a close friend/relative passed.