The Birthday Song…As we discussed yesterday, here in Mexico, and most of the rest of Latin America, the repeated lines of “Happy Birthday to You” loses, hands down to the lovely song for special events “Las Mañanitas.”
In yesterday’s post there are three links to You Tube and sound tracks of “Las Mañanitas” performed by various musicians including Mexico’s best mariachis and 1940s movie heart throb Pedro Infante. Today’s favorite music greats also sing and record “Las Mañanitas.” Even Alejandro Fernandez, one of today’s favorite singers and the son of another Mexican great, Vincente Fernandez. (Alejandro is here.)
Las Mañanitas Lyrics:
Here are the lyrics of this lovely song, in both the original Spanish and in a non-literal, more song like translation.
Only these first two verses are usually used for area birthdays – both at the beginning of the party and again just before the cake is cut. Below, I’ve included some additional verses that are occasionally sung, particularly when the song is performed by mariachis, or on Mother’s Day or Saints’ Days.
Estas son las mañanitas, que cantaba el Rey David, Que linda está la mañana en que vengo a saludarte,
Hoy por ser día de tu santo**, te las cantamos a ti,
Despierta, mi bien*, despierta, mira que ya amaneció,
Ya los pajarillos cantan, la luna ya se metió.
Venimos todos con gusto y placer a felicitarte,
El día en que tu naciste, nacieron todas las flores,
En la pila del bautismo, cantaron los ruiseñores.
These are the beautiful psalms that King David sang
Because today is your saint's day we're singing it for you
Wake up, my dear, wake up, look it is already dawn
The birds are already singing and the moon has set
How lovely is the morning in which I come to greet you
We all came with joy and pleasure to congratulate you.
The day of your birth, the flowers were also born
At the baptismal font, the nightingales sang.
**día de tu santo (saint’s day) is often replaced with cumpleaños (birthday)
* Mi bien (my one) is often replaced with the name of the person who is being celebrated
Learning the Song
If you are serious about learning the words, you may want to print this page and sing along with another old-time Mexican movie star, the Charro Cantor Jorge Negrete (1911-1953). His version is slower and the words are clearer than some of the others. (Sing with Jorge Negrete)
Here are some of the other verses, with the translations:
Ya viene amaneciendo, ya la luz del día nos dio,
Levántate de mañana, mira que ya amaneció.
The morning is coming now, the sun is giving us its light
Get up in the morning, look it is already dawn
Quisiera ser solecito para entrar por tu ventana
y darte los buenos días acostadita en tu cama
I would like to be a sunbeam to enter through your window
to wish you good morning while you're lying in your bed
Quisiera ser un San Juan, quisiera ser un San Pedro
Para venirte a cantar con la música del cielo
I would like to be a Saint John I would like to be a Saint Peter
To come to sing to you with the music of heaven
De las estrellas del cielo tengo que bajarte dos
una para saludarte y otra para decirte adiós
Of the stars in the sky I need to lower two
One with which to greet you and the other to wish you goodbye
Con jasmines y flores hoy te vengo a saludar,
Hoy por ser día de tu santo, te venimos a cantar.
With jasmine and flowers, today I come to greet you
Today for your saint’s day we come to you to sing.
And More Mariachis for my birthday
I’ve lived in central Mexico for nearly 20 years…my Mexican friends say that by now I’m media-Mexicana (half Mexican). There’s nothing my “Mexican half” loves any more than good mariachis – well ok, maybe even slightly off-tune mariachis…I think it’s the blend of male voices…they remind me of the Men’s Chorus performances back in high school.
So, since today is my birthday, here’s one more sound track…this one of mariachis playing “Las Mañanitas” on the November 22 feast day of Saint Cecelia, the patron saint of musicians. This group, The Mariachi Real de Azteca de Zacatlan, is performing in the plaza de Santa Cecelia in Puebla. Enjoy and Sing Along!
Want to Know More?
Be sure to read the February 19 post, Skip “Happy Birthday;” Give me “Las Mañanitas”