Monday, March 23, 2009


Growing up, on the day of my  birthday the day started with firecrackers announcing the whole neighborhood at  6 am that somebody was having a birthday. Following the meter long "ametralladora" (string of firecrackers) was  my family and sometimes friends singing Las Mañanitas. 

During my teenage years the group of friends from the neighborhood followed this tradition. Our moms would then prepare breakfast for the gang. Since my birthday was on vacation time I always got the serenade and a whole morning breakfast feast.  (I am making a note to do this for Nicole´s birthday that we will spend in Guatemala next April).
Here is the song of Las Mañanitas sang by Topo Gigio, an icon of childhood memories for those of us who are now in our 30s and 40s. 

The Lyricis are:

Estas son las mañanitas que cantaba el rey David,
hoy por ser dia de tu Santo te las cantamos a ti.
(we used to sing in the last verse: A las muchachas bonitas se las cantamos asi, or jokingly a las muchachas bonitas y a las feitas también!)

This is the morning serenade that King David sang,
today since it is your birthday we are singing it to you.
(variation: to the pretty girls we sing them this way or jokingly to the pretty girls and the ugly ones too!)

Despierta mi bien despierta mira que ya amaneció
ya los pajarillos cantan la luna ya se metió.

Wake up, my dear, wake up, look  morning has broken.
the birds are already singing and the moon has set.

Que linda esta la mañana en que vengo a saludarte
venimos todos con gusto y placer a felicitarte.

How beautiful is the morning when I come to greet you,
we all come with joy and pleasure to congratulate you.

El dia en que tu naciste, nacieron todas las flores
en la pila del bautismo, cantaron los ruiseñores.

The day you were born, all the flowers sprouted,
On the baptismal font  the nightingales sang.
As I was writing this post Megan, my December girl, said that we couldn't  sing this for her since she was born in December when there are no flowers. I said, -Well, remember you were born in Guatemala and there it is always spring!-

Ya viene amaneciendo, ya la luz del dia nos dió
levantate de manañana, mira que ya amaneció.

The sun is coming out, the morning light has shone on us,
get up early in the morning, look it morning has broken.

Volaron cuatro palomas por toditas las ciudades,
hoy por ser día de tu Santo te deseamos felicidades.

Four doves flew all around the cities
today since it is your Saint's day we wish you happiness.

De las estrellas del cielo tengo que bajarte dos,
una es para saludarte y otra de para decirte adiós.

From the stars in the sky I have to pull down two,
one to greet you and one to say farewell.

Con racimos de  flores hoy te vengo a saludar,
hoy por ser día de tu santo te venimos a cantar.

With bundles of flowers today I come to greet you,
since today is your Saint's day we come to serenade you.

The other verses I know is:

Quisieras ser solecito para entrar por tu ventana,
y darte los buenos dias acostadita en tu cama.

I wish I could be the sun so I could come in through your window,
and say good morning while you are lying your bed.
Quisiera ser un San Juan, quisiera ser un San Pedro
Pa' venirte a saludar con la música del cielo.

I would like to be a Saint John, I would like to be a Saint Peter.
To come and greet you with the music from heaven.

Here is the Mariachi version. Although  Mariachis originated in Mexican, they are present at many Guatemalan parties. You call them or find them at the Plaza de los Mariachis and have them come to your house for a certain amount of time or for a
'tanda',  a round of songs, starting at around $80.00.

Note: This is not what we sing with the cake, to know about that see this other post. 
Also see Pinatas.


Nancy said...

Hola. No sé cuándo es tu cumpleaños, pero igual, te mando un fuerte abrazo y espero que siempre lo celebres en unión de todos los que te quieren.

Steph said...

How wonderful! I was actually going to ask you to post about birthdays because our son's b-day is in a couple weeks! I read both birthday posts! Are the pinatas always that big?!?! Are they filled with candy like we do in the US?