Saturday, December 07, 2013

Iya Belen

Tonight the Chamorro Studies Program through the wonderful work of the Chamorro language instructors at UOG held Puengen Minagof Nochebuena, a night for celebrating Chamorro language and culture in the context of Christmas. The event was a great success, with over 250 community members showing up to see the bilens made by Chamorro classes, to sing along to Chamorro Christmas songs and to taste a dozen different kinds of bonelos.

Chamorro language is the most popular language course at the University of Guam. Far more students take it than take Japanese a language that everyone feels has more economic value. But even though it is the most popular language and so many students and community members expect that UOG be a place where the language can be learned and preserved, there is currently no tenured full time faculty who teaches Chamorro. The same goes for the new Chamorro Studies program, which is already doing great work both on campus and off, but has no faculty actually dedicated to watching over the program or developing it. 

Instead the Chamorro language classes are managed by a collection of incredibly dedicated and hardworking adjuncts or part time instructors. None of them teach more than two language classes, but together they organize so many events throughout the year that bring the community into the university and vice versa. They sing Chamorro songs for the elderly, visit the sick in the hospital, organize a Chamorro language competition each year, hold political forums, and of course each Christmas have a Puengen Minagof Nochebuena celebration.

The faculty this year who made Puengen Minagof Nochebuena possible are as follows: Teresita Flores, Ruth Mendiola, Rosa Palomo, Kerrie Candaso, Joey Franquez, Ed Benavente as well as myself. The above video features a meeting of us faculty preparing for Puengen Minagof by practicing one of the Christmas songs to be sung, Iya Belen. The lyrics are below for anyone else interested in learning the song.


Iya Belen:

Iya Belen tåno’ Jesus
Ma’gas na songsong, iya Belen
Giya Juda kapitan hao
Sa’ i mesias mafañågu
Gi liyang ga’ga giya Hågu

Iya Belen tåno’ Jesus
Ma’gas na songsong, iya Belen

Ginen tumekon i atdao
Tumalak papa’ gi patgon-mu
Ya ha tekuni i atdao-mu

Iya Belen tåno’ Jesus
Ma’gas na songsong iya Belen

Manmåtto lokkue’ i anghet
Ya ha kantåyi i rain-ñiha
Manlinangitan kånta siha

Iya Blen, tåßno’ Jesus
Ma’gas na songsong, iya Belen


Rosabella Jones said...

What does Iya Belen mean in the english launguage?

Rosabella Jones said...

What does Iya Belen mean in the English language?

Michael Lujan Bevacqua said...

"Iya Belen" means "in Bethlehem."


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