This blog is about my exposure to the Spanish language and various Latin-American cultures through travel and research; particularly Black/Afro-Latino.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Celebrating Puerto Rico's Little Black Angels
I recently gained a greater, heartfelt appreciation for an album I
purchased years ago by salsa music icon Willie Colón. It was an
instrumental album that is very pleasing to the ear called “El Baquiné
de Angelitos Negros” (celebration of little black angels) in which I
learned the album's cultural and traditional meaning upon consultations
with some Afro Boricuas (Puerto Ricans of African ancestry).
Banquiné (pronounced Bah-Key-NAY) is a type of funeral celebrating
(versus morning) the death of innocent little black children entering
heaven to be with God. The
evening before the child's funeral, family, friends and loved ones
would gather for the event. Traditional games and songs would be
shared long into the night until the sun came up, followed in the
morning by the burial.
The Baquiné, which is part religious
and part festive, is an old and vanishing tradition not widely known
of the predominately black town of Loiza Aldea, Puerto Rico. In fact, a
Baquiné has not been celebrated in over 20 years. Because of modern
medical advances, the death of young
children is not so common anymore.