Francisco wrote: "This is a Christmas Carol, a Villancico, and on Christmas Eve (Noche buena) we like playing this song with a 'zambomba'." A zambomba is a traditional friction drum. The friction of a reed going in and out of the drum makes a special sound.

The singer in the song is patching some of his clothes. That's why there's a reference to mending and putting a patch on.

Hacia Belén va una burra - Spanish Children's Songs - Spain - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

*Most versions have this as "su chocolatera". The official Spanish dictionary gives the masculine word as an idiom from Andalusia.
**The Spanish lyrics mean that the singer was patching some of his/her clothes. This is why the Spanish version uses the pronoun "me".
***A "molinillo" is a Mexican wooden whisk for mixing hot chocolate.

*****

Some words in the chorus are stressed differently than they would be in spoken language. They're accented according to the pronunciation for singing. Below is the normal spelling:

María, María ven acá corriendo
Que el chocolatillo se lo está comiendo
María, María ven acá volando
Que el chocolatillo se lo está llevando.

Hacia Belén va una burra - Spanish Children's Songs - Spain - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image

Comments

Additional verses:

En el Portal de Belén,rin, rin.
Yo me remendaba, yo me remendé,
Yo me eché un remiendo, yo me lo quité.
Han entrado los ratones,
Y al bueno de San José, rin, rin.
Yo me remendaba, yo me remendé,
Yo me eché un remiendo, yo me lo quité.
Le han roído los calzones.

María, María, ven acá corriendó,
Que los calzoncillós, los están royendó.
Mariá Mariá ven acá volandó
Que los calzoncillós, los están royendoó.

En el portal de Belén, rin, rin.
Yo me remendaba, yo me remendé,
Yo me eché un remiendo, yo me lo quité.
Ladroncillos han entrado,
Y al Niño que está en la cuna rin, rin.
Yo me remendaba, yo me remendé,
Yo me eché un remiendo, yo me lo quité.
Los pañales le han robado.

Mariá, Mariá ven acá corriendó
Que los pañalillós, los están llevandó
Mariá, Mariá ven acá volando
Que los pañalillós, los están llevandó.

Con un sombrero de paja, rin, rin,
Yo me remendaba, yo me remendé,
Yo me eché un remiendo, yo me lo quité,
Al portal llega un gallego. (1)
Mientras adoraba al Niño, rin, rin,
Yo me remendaba, yo me remendé,
Yo me hice un remiendo, yo me lo quité,
El buey se comió el sombrero.

Mariá, Mariá, ven acá corriendó,
Que el sombrero el buey se lo está comiendó.
Mariá, Mariá, ven acá volando,
Consuela al gallegó que está aquí llorandó (2).

There's another version of the song, where the lines with the numbers are as follows:

(1) "Hacia Belén va un viajero" (To Bethlehem goes a traveler)
(2) "Que el sombrero el buey se lo está comiendó." (For the ox is eating the hat.)

Translation

In the Bethlehem manger, rin, rin,
(I was mending, I mended,
I put a patch on, I took it off.)
The mice came in
And the good Saint Joseph, rin, rin,
(I was mending, I mended,
I put a patch on, I took it off.)
They gnawed at his long johns.

Mary, Mary, come running here
For they're gnawing at his long johns,
Mary, Mary, come flying here
For they're gnawing at his long johns.

In the Bethlehem manger, rin, rin.
(I was mending, I mended,
I put a patch on, I took it off.)
Young thieves came in,
And Baby Jesus was in the crib, rin, rin,
(I was mending, I mended,
I put a patch on, I took it off.)
They stole his diapers.

Mary, Mary, come running here
For they're taking his diapers,
Mary, Mary, come flying here
For they're taking his diapers.

With a straw hat,
(I was mending, I mended,
I put a patch on, I took it off.)
A Galician arrives at the manger.
While he was worshiping the Child
(I was mending, I mended,
I put a patch on, I took it off.)
The ox ate the hat.

Mary, Mary, come running here,
For the ox is eating the hat,
Mary, Mary, come flying here,
Comfort the Galician who's crying here.

Listen

The 1st and 3rd verses are sung in the recording below.

Download

Many thanks to Francisco Javier Fontalva Chica and his relative for contributing and singing this song for us!

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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Hacia Belén va una burra

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Translated by Monique Palomares and Lisa Yannucci.

Image: Man with Donkey, August Macke, German, 1914.

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