This is the song the Mexicans in Chicago sing for birthdays, saint days, and the December midnight celebration for the Virgin of Guadalupe. It’s called mañanitas, or little morning songs. It is supposed to be sung outside someone’s window on their birthday or saint day. The transcription, including accents, is the way my students wrote it on the blackboard. The translation is my own with a few cultural hints from the students.
Estas son las mañanitas que cantaba el rey David,
Hoy por ser tu cumpaños (replace with “santo” for saint day) te las cantamos a ti.
Despierta mi bien despierta, mira que ya amanacio.
ya los pajarillos cantan, la luna ya se metió.
These are the little morning songs that king David used to sing,
Today since it’s your birthday we sing them to you.
Wake up my love who is waking up, look, it’s already daylight.
already the birds sing, the moon already went down.
Que linda esta la mañana, en que vengo a saludarte,
venimos todos con gusto y placer a felicitarte.
De los estrellas del cielo quisiera bajarte 2 [dos],
una para saludarte y otro para decirte adios.
How beautiful is the morning, in which I come to greet you,
We all come with pleasure and delight to greet you.
Of the stars in the sky I would want to bring down two for you
One to greet you and another to tell you goodbye (because I sing outside your window and you don’t come out to thank me.)
volaron 4 [cuatro] palomas por toditas las cuidades,
hoy por ser tu cumpeaños te deseamos felicidades.
Ya viene amaneciendo, ya luz del dia nos dio,
levantate de mañana mira, que ya amaneció.
four doves fly (in the four directions) towards all the cities,
today on account of being your birthday we desire your happiness.
Already the daybreak is coming, the light of the day you gave us (for being a special day),
Get up and look at the day, that is already dawning .