Song Lyric Sunday – La Víbora de la Mar

I could not resist joining epic author and blogger Jim Adams, hosting another great Song Lyric Sunday, with this week’s theme “Herpetologist” (a specialist in “the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles.”) The prompt words are Alligator/Crocodile/Lizard/Snake/Turtle, hence the photo above of a clay lizard at a family restaurant in Mexico (from 2019), and I immediately thought of one of my early posts, regarding fruit (specifically watermelon) and a children’s game played with the traditional Mexican tune entitled “La víbora de la mar” (“The Sea Snake”).  In this game, two people are assigned as “melón” (“cantaloupe” or “melon”) and “sandía” (“watermelon”); then they hold hands and raise them to form a threshold between them.  The rest of the participants form a line by holding onto the shoulders of the person in front.  The line goes through the threshold while singing the song.  The two people holding hands lower them down at the end of the verse, and one person from the line gets trapped and is asked the question: “¿Con melón o con sandía?” (“With cantaloupe or with watermelon?”)  The person goes to the chosen side, and forms another threshold by placing her or his extended arms on the leader’s shoulders.  Now the line can go through two thresholds, and the singing, betting and gleaning continues, sometimes faster and faster with each repetition, until there is no more line left.  I used to play it all the time during recess in elementary school, and much later on, at wedding receptions, as a legendary fast-paced conga line.  There are no winners or losers in this game, just a bunch of happy and thirsty people, as it may be appreciated in the video below, at my niece’s wedding last year (Cheers, Happy 1st Anniversary!):   

The lyrics seem mostly misplaced and make little sense, but are an excuse for the slithering line of people (presumably the snake during this game) to run around and have fun:

La víbora de la mar – The Sea Snake 

Traditional Mexican Children’s Song (with my translation to English)

A la víbora, víbora de la mar, de la mar                   The snake, the snake of the seas, of the seas
por aquí pueden pasar                                                     everyone may go through here
los de adelante corren mucho,                                    the ones at the front run fast,
y los de atrás se quedarán … atrás                            and the last shall stay … behind
tras, tras, tras, tras                                                              hind, hind, hind, hind

Una mexicana que fruta vendía:                                 A Mexican girl was selling fruit:
ciruela, chabacano, melón o sandía …                     plum, apricot, cantaloupe or watermelon …

Verbena, verbena, la virgen de la cueva                Festival, festival, the virgin of the cave
Verbena, verbena, la virgen de la cueva …           Festival, festival, the virgin of the cave …

Campanita de oro, déjame pasar                                 Golden little bell, let me go through
con todos mis hijos menos el de atrás                       with all my children, but the one behind
tras, tras, tras, tras                                                                hind, hind, hind, hind

Será melón, será sandia,                                                    Will it be melon, will it be watermelon
Será melon, será sandia                                                     Will it be melon, will it be watermelon
¿¡Será la vieja del otro día día,                                        Or shall it be the old lady from the other day,
día, día, día, día!?                                                                     day, day, day, day!?

After all that running, for a family-oriented refreshment (more appropriate than whiskey for sure, LOL), and to use some of the fruit named in the song, try my recipe for licuado de sandía (watermelon Mexican smoothie):

6 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – La Víbora de la Mar

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