Can Anyone Help with a Sicilian Rhyme about the Face?

Terry wrote asking for help with a Sicilian rhyme…

I am trying to track down the rhyme my Sicilian (Sant’Agata, Messina) grandmother used to say to us as children, as she touched each part of our face, ending with a little cheek tap.

All I remember is something like…

nasca patateddu
Occhi putesiddu
Frunda ballada
E tenna bimbilada

Not at all sure of spelling!

I can’t remember much of it but the English translation was something like:

chin like a ———
mouth like a mushroom
nose like a potato
eyes like ——
forehead like a board…
and here’s a little slap!

If anyone can help with this rhyme, please comment below…

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 at 6:38 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Italy, Languages, Mama Lisa, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Sicilian, Sicilian Rhymes, Sicily. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

5 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Sicilian Rhyme about the Face?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Deb wrote asking for help with another Sicilian rhyme. She wrote, “Searching for the words to a Sicilian game starting with Nolla Nolla Nolla.”

    If anyone can help, please comment about it. Thanks! Mama Lisa

  2. mariolina Says:

    This is a very famous Italian Rhyme.
    There are many versions in the different regions and dialects.
    The following is the simplest one (in Italian):

    Questo è l’occhio bello
    questo è il suo fratello
    Questa è la chiesina
    questo il campanello
    Drin drin drin drin drin
    Drin drin drin drin drin

    This is the beautiful eye
    This is his brother
    This is the church
    This is the bell
    Drin drin drin drin drin
    Drin drin drin drin drin

    During the rhyme (it may be sang or only told) the adult touches the kid’s eyes, then the mouth (church) and the nose (bell). The adult may also take help the kid to touch to touch his/her parts of the face with his/her own hand.
    Drin drin is the sound of the bell. During this the nose is not only touched but moved here and there. I hope it may help

  3. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing that rhyme Mariolina!

  4. Chris Says:

    Did anyone ever find out the one Terry was originally asking about? My grandmother used to say this one to us as well. I am looking for the full saying and spelling if possible…
    Thank you!!

  5. Lucille Says:

    My Mom’s parents were from Palermo and they used to say a Sicilian rhyme about a face to all the babies in our family. I wanted to pass it along to our younger generations, but I wasn’t sure of all the words. I don’t speak Sicilian, but I wanted to be able to have something written down that I could share. So, I turned to the all-powerful Google and came across this website and Terry’s post from 2017, and although some of the words were different from what I remembered, I was sure that it was the same rhyme.

    Since the adult saying the rhyme touches the various parts of the baby’s face, I found an online English to Sicilian dictionary and looked up chin, mouth, nose, eyes, and forehead, so I know those words are spelled correctly. But I couldn’t find a site that translated phrases, so I had to rely on my phonetic memory and a Sicilian friend to help write it all down. I’m not sure it is entirely accurate, so if anyone out there can help, please do.

    This is what I came up with:

    Varvarottu ddu
    Ucca da ne ddu
    Nasu nasi ddu
    Occhi bidizzi ddu
    Frunti balladda
    E checha na tumpulata

    The English translation would be something like:

    Here’s your little chin
    Here’s your little mouth
    Here’s your little nose
    Here are your beautiful eyes
    Here’s your forehead (couldn’t find balladda in the Sicilian dictionary)
    And here’s a little slap.

    Terry, I hope you see this and that it brings back some wonderful memories of your grandmother.

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