Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The Nobenan Niño in Chamorro probably did not come about until the 1920s because, as Pale' Roman and others have said, Chamorros prayed mainly in Spanish until that time.  Prayer books in Chamorro were few in number until Pale' Roman started translating dozens and dozens of them.

This family puts up a huge belen in their carport.  Mom leads the nobena as techa.  The nobena is in Chamorro and the children can say the basic prayers in Chamorro.  Mom began praying the Nobenan Niño the very first year she was married, as her husband had bought a nativity set from Butler's for $50.  That's in 1958 dollar value.  Since then, especially as some pieces got chipped or broken, she has augmented her belen with new statues bought over the years from the Carmelite Nuns, who got them from Spain.  She has been tempted four times all these years to skip a Christmas novena, in order to travel to the mainland.  She has turned down those trips every time.  Her Nobenan Niño is a priority.

At her nobena, they sang "Si Jose yan si Maria" in the older melody.  Compare this with the other melody posted on December 13 :


That depends on the people holding it.  First you decide when you want to end the nobena (the finakpo).  Then you count nine days back.  Most people want to end it on December 25, so they start the nobena on December 17.  But others want to end it on January 1, or January 6 (Three Kings; Tres Reyes).  Other families end theirs on other days, too, for their own reasons.


On Ascension Thursday, Jesus told His Apostles to wait and pray and they would receive a great grace promised them - the Holy Spirit.  Nine full days exist between Ascension Thursday on the one hand and Pentecost Sunday on the other.  So the custom developed to pray nine days for a needed grace, in imitation of the Apostles waiting and praying in the Upper Room as Jesus instructed them to do.

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