Monday, December 13, 2021



They say that modern man doesn't know how to wait, and so we jump right into Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. In many homes, the Christmas tree comes down on December 26 and people find it odd when others continue to say "Merry Christmas" till January 6 or so.

We celebrate too early and we end it too early.

But the traditional Catholic way is to wait and to prepare, and then to extend the celebration of Christmas to January 6 (Three Kings) or later even.

Nothing told us kids growing up 50 or more years ago that Christmas was coming than to hear this song, Si José yan si María, being sung by the family kneeling before the family belen or nativity scene.

There are two melodies of this song. One, it is said, is older, perhaps we can say the original. The second, it is believed, is newer, and is the same melody used in a Saipan Christmas song, "Hingok i Dos na Saklestan." But, since we have no evidence one way or the other, which is the older, all we can say is that this is what people think or believe.

Here is the "older" melody.

Here is the "newer." I think this is the melody sung nowadays by most, but in my childhood it was the "older" melody that was sung more.


This song is meant to prepare us for the birth of Jesus. That story begins with the Annunciation by Archangel Gabriel to Mary at which Mary conceived Jesus in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by man; the marriage of Joseph and Mary so that Mary would have the help of a husband and that Jesus would have a human foster father, and grow up in a normal family setting.

But Joseph had to take the pregnant Mary with him to his ancestral town of Bethlehem to register for the census, and it is there that Mary gave birth, fulfilling the prophecy.

So already we have the themes of a PILGRIM GOD, a God who leaves heaven and journeys to the earth, entering human life through the womb of Mary, which is like a gate for God to enter our world. In addition, the infant Jesus still in Mary's womb travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where He is born. So the refrain says "Oh Yu'us na pelegrino," "Oh Pilgrim God." We cannot go to God on our own power, so God comes down to us.

And when God comes to us, He doesn't receive a triumphant welcome. There is no room in the inn. The baby is put in a manger, which is a wooden trough for animal food, and thus we can assume there are animals around him, and was possibly in an animal shelter, and by tradition a cave. All He has for worshippers are humble shepherds, sent by an angel.

So the song has the message that the Chamorro faithful give the baby Jesus the welcome He did not get but which He deserves.

Si José yan si María / esta guennao man maså'pet.
(Joseph and Mary / are suffering there.)

Koro : O Yu'us na pelegrino / sugo' mågi giya hame.
(O pilgrim God / stop and stay with us.)

1. Taitutuhon na Tiningo' / taihinekkok na Finaye / takkilo'-ña i ta'chong-mo / ke i sagan mapagåhes.  Håfa na un dingo på'go / i ginefsagan i langet?
(Knowledge without beginning / endless wisdom / your seat is higher than the clouds.  Why now do you leave / the riches of heaven?)

2. Saina hao, Yu'us Lahi-ña / ni i bula mina’åse' / mama'taotao yan humuyong / Yu'us Taotao, che'lon-måme.  I Mesias hao, i Kristo / hagas ham man ma sangåne.
(You are Lord, God the Son / full of mercy / you were made man and became / God and man, our brother.  You are the Messiah, the Christ / which was told to us from of old.)

3. An humålom i chatanmak / ya ma chakchak i ha'åne / un na' sulo' gi sankattan / i atdao-mo, bula guåfe.  Hågo i ma'lak na åtdao / i mañiñila' na kåndet.
(When the dawn comes / and the day breaks / you make shine in the east / the sun, full of fire.  You are the bright sun / the shining light.)

4. Cha'-mo chåchågo' Asaina / guine gi fanågon-måme / gos manengheng i sanhiyong / meggai lokkue' i mañakke.  Maila' hålom, Påtgon Yu'us, sa' yan-måme dinanña'e.
(Don't go far, Lord / from our shelter here / it is very cold outside / there are many thieves as well.  Come inside, God Child, because we would like to join together.)

5. Guai fanhakman i gimå'-ta / yagin magof hao humåtme.  Maila' hålom giya hame / sugo' ya un ma adahe / kalan i ma'gas i gima' / yan Rai i lekka' na långet.
(Our house has a door / if you would like to enter.  Come inside among us / visit and be cared for / as the head of the house / and King of heaven exalted.)

6. Nangga nåya gofliion / in sangåne hao magåhet / i taotao-mo hao yumute' / sa' mañåguat manmandage.  Ti u cho'gue i Chamorro / sa' ti ennao påyon-mame.
(Wait for a while, beloved / we tell you truthfully / your people abandoned you / because they are insolent liars.  The Chamorro will not do that / because that is not our custom.)

7. Sugo', dikkike' na påtgon / maila' ya un ma dandåne / ni man na' magof na dåndan / guine gi åtpa yan låbet.  Hago ha' siña dumåndan / sa' manungo' hao yan faye.
(Stay, little child / come and we will play for you / joyful songs / here with harp and violin.  You alone can play / because you know how and you are capable.)


Guai. This is a word most Chamorro speakers, even older ones, are not familiar with and so they often change it to gai. But guai is an old form of the word gai, which means "it has, there is."

Fanhakman. This word, meaning "door" comes from FAN+HÅLOM+AN. Hålom means "to enter." The FAN and the AN make it "place of" or "time of" entering. Fanhaluman can be shortened to fanhakman.

*** Agradesimiento para si Señot Lawrence Borja para i dos audio na file.

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