sana sana colita de rana si no sana hoy sanara mañana

Background: Informant is a 19 year old student. Their parents both grew up in Venezuela. Their mom’s side is Spanish and Italian and their dad’s is Spanish and Israeli. Informant is from Texas and Miami and now resides in Los Angeles. They identify as Latin American and Jewish.

Informant: So in most Latin countries when a child or someone has a wound or a tummy ache, either an older person or a loved one touches that spot or massages that spot and says, “sana sana colita de rana si no sana hoy sanara mañana.” And that means, like the literal translation is “heal heal frogs tail and if it doesn’t heal today then it should heal tomorrow.”

Me: So, do you remember the first time this was used? Or is it kind of ever-present? 

Informant: Just growing up all the time whenever I was sick or had a tummy ache or if I hit myself when I was younger. I remember the first time that someone did it to me it was my grandma and like, as I was growing up my parents started doing it more as a joke. But it’s still like, if I’m having cramps or whatever my mom is like, “sana sana colita de rana si no sana hoy sanara mañana.” So it’s almost like a superstitious thing like you say it and it heals you or more like a comfort thing. 

Reflection: I loved hearing this story from my friend. It was so sweet to hear this saying come out of their mouth, as you could hear the child in them and the comfort it gave them growing up. It’s so sweet to see the ways different cultures make sense of pain and help kids go through hard things. I felt I could really relate to this experience as I think it’s universal to a certain extent.