Serve Well Blog


Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 10
Un Nuevo Amanecer (A New Dawn), by Sean Rawson

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press

I spent two years as a Jesuit Volunteer in Managua, Nicaragua. It worked out that I happened to be there for three Christmases, and I noticed that this song always got a lot of play right around Christmas time. It's called "El Cristo de Palacaguina", "The Christ of Palacaguina." Palacaguina is a small mountain town in the north of Nicaragua, so the song is about Christ being born to the peasants of the rural countryside. A Christ born to a simple humble background with which the poor can more closely identify! Not the curly blond-haired, blue-eyed child we feature so often in our Nativity scenes in the North, but a dark-skinned, indigenous Christ; the Divine manifested as human who has chosen the poor campesinos of the world to bring about his salvation!

El Cristo de Palacaguina

It's a beautiful revolutionary song with a great melody. One of my favorite lines, roughly translated, from the second verse:

"The people all gathered together to see him,
The Indian Joaquin brought him quesillo from Nagarote,
Instead of gold, incense and myrrh they gave him
Cookies from Diriomo and even buñelos from Guadalupe"

And if you ever have the pleasure of running across Krista Colleague Michael Marchesini, who also spent several years in Managua, ask him to play you his version! He plays a mean classical guitar. Feliz Navidad y que viva el Cristo de Palacaguina!

Read more about Sean below


Un Nuevo Amanecer Mural
Un Nuevo Amanecer mural at the North Batahola Cultural Center, Managua 

Sean Rawson

As a Jesuit Volunteer from 2009-11, Sean worked with the Nicaraguan organization CANTERA doing youth organizing in at-risk barrios in Managua. He is returning to Nicaragua to work in Ciudad Sandino on the outskirts of Managua with CANTERA again, starting in January 2013!


Current comments.

  1. Linda Hunt said:

    Hi Sean, Loved reading this story, especially the words around the distinctive gifts women in the village are known for giving! It would also be wonderful if our website has the capacity to hear the song. Do you know if we could do a podcast or something with Michael playing it? Has he ever recorded it? Happy New Year to you and your special family!

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