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Novenas

Informant: Maria Clara Williamson. My mom who is originally from Colombia but has lived in Mexico City for 25 years.

Informant: “In Colombia during Christmas time there is a big celebration called Novenas. It is a celebration with family and friends. One gathers and sings ‘Villancicos.’ One of my favorite Villancico is called ‘Campana Sobre Campana.’ We all sing, pray, and celebrate together. It is a great celebration because it is so much more than a religious gathering. A novena is a tradition and the perfect gathering to mingle with family and friends. The Novenas were definitely a highlight of the Christmas season. I would often attend several novenas and although they would be similar in the traditions, it would be a different experience.”

Song:

“Campana sobre campana

y sobre campana una

asómate a la ventana

veros a un niño en la cuna.

Belén, Campanas de Belén

que los Ángeles tocan

que nuevas me traéis.

 

Recogido tu rebaño

a dónde vas pastorcillo?

Voy a llevar el portal

requesón, manteca y vino

Belén, Campanas de Belén

que los Ángeles tocan

que nuevas me traéis.”

 

Translation:

“Bell over Bell

And on a bell

Get close to the window

See a child in the crib.

Bethlehem, Bells of Bethlehem

What angels play

What new you bring me

 

Collected your flock

Where are you going little shepherd?

I’m going to take the portal

Cottage cheese, butter and wine

Bethlehem, Bells of Bethlehem

What angels play

What new you bring me. ”

 

Thoughts: Because my family is from Colombia and we’ve celebrated Christmas in Bogotá,  I’ve attended these novenas. As a little kid, the highlight of these gathering was singing the Villanciscos (Christmas Carols).  We actually have not celebrated Christmas in Colombia for a long time ever since most of my grandparents passed away. Even so, the novenas is a childhood memory that I cherish forever.

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