Sana Sana Colita de Rana

Main Piece: 

“Sana sana colita de rana

Si no sana hoy

Sana mañana”


“Heal, heal, tiny frog tail

If it doesn’t heal today

It will heal tomorrow”


“Heal, heal, tiny frog tail

If it doesn’t heal today

It will heal tomorrow”


My informant is one of my friends who lives in Miami, Florida, and is of Cuban and Iranian heritage. As a child, my informant could always expect to hear this from her grandmother whenever she got hurt. “Sana sana colita de rana” is a popular rhyme often told to small children across Latinx culture as a way to console them after injuries (like falling and scraping their knees, for example). Along with the song, my informant added, “my family always accompanied it with a kiss on the appropriate wound, so I think it’s kind of the equivalent of when Americans are like ‘kiss your boo boos’.”


This childhood rhyme came up when I asked my informant if she knew of any Cuban sayings. I listed a different variation of this rhyme as an example, which she was able to recognize and provide the version she’d grown up hearing. 


I remember hearing this rhyme all the time whenever I got hurt as a kid, though I heard it differently. In Mexican culture, or at least how my mother told it to me, the rhyme went “Sana sana colita de rana, si no se te quita hoy se te quita mañana,” which translates to: “heal, heal, tiny frog tail, if [the pain] doesn’t leave you today, it will leave you tomorrow.” Either way, hearing the rhyme brings back nostalgia from when I was little. I agree with what my informant said about kissing the wound being equivalent to what American parents might do, and I think the addition of the rhyme also adds to the notion that this performance is mostly a placebo effect.

That being said, I think the rhyme is an important part of children’s culture, particularly in the way that the content doesn’t make sense; what does a frog’s tail have to do with healing, for example, a scraped knee? Why a frog, specifically, and not a medical professional? The nonsensical element here is key to children’s folklore because it allows them to comprehend the world in a way that only their folk group could understand and readily accept. However, another way to look at it is that the silliness of the rhyme helps the child focus less on their pain and more on trying to understand the contents.

For another variation, see Licea, May 12, 2019, “Sana Sana Colita de Rana – Spanish saying”, USC Folklore Archives).