Nobenan I Niño Jesus-Novena to the Christ Child
Every year, during the Christmas season, Catholic families gather for nine nights of devotional prayers reciting the Nobenan Niño, a nobena (novena) in honor of Christ’s birth. For Chamorro families, the nightly prayers may be said in Chamorro/CHamoru or English. Families that practice this continue what – in many cases – is a long-standing tradition passed down through generations usually from mother to daughter. Oftentimes it is celebrated within individual family homes.
Preparing for the nobena may also involve the construction within the household of a bilen, or nativity scene, depicting Christ’s birth. The construction may involve several family members working together to complete the task. Sometimes the bilen is quite elaborate, with statues of farm animals, shepherds and the three kings in addition to the main figures of the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph surrounded by a lush setting of natural and artificial materials.
The last day of the Nobenan Niño can end on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or on Three King’s Day on 6 January. This practice serves not only as an important Catholic ritual, but also strengthens family ties and passes on Chamorro family traditions and virtues.
Nobenan I Niño Jesus: e-publication
Download Nobenan i Niño Jesus here.
Download Novena to the Christ Child here.