It happened to be una mañanita that was unlike any other. Después de unos dos windy days the whole house was cold; se había encerrão el frío por toda la casa. Although there was no longer any firewood en la casa, Grama Cuca asked Canutito to go get una poca de leña.

“M’hijo,” she said, bring me a few logs of firewood por favor. And as long as you’re at it, préndeme una lumbre.”

Canutito guessed que Grama Cuca was asking him to light a fire, pero he wasn’t sure so he asked her, “Grama, what does ‘prender’ mean?”

“The word ‘prender’ can have many meanings, m’hijo,” she replied. “It can mean to light a fire and it can also mean ‘to grab’ or ‘to seize’.”

“I thought que ‘to grab’ is ‘agarrar’.” Canutito said.

Sí, m’hijo, ésa es otra word por ‘to grab’, she replied. “Now let me ask you, did you ever hear of ‘un prendorio’?”

Un prendorio hace sound como una great big forest fire que alguien lit on purpose. I can almost see a todos los árboles de la forest burning up and making una big ole lumbrada y una jumadera bárbara.” Canutito paused as he watched the strange expression en la cara de su grama. “Is that where they light a big fire?” Canutito le preguntó, knowing que he wasn’t close del todo.

“Not quite, m’hijo,” grama said. “Un prendorio es una ceremonia where a bride is turned over to the groom’s family el día antes del casorio. That means that it is a Spanish engagement ceremony donde la novia se presenta a todos los miembros de la familia del novio.”

“How is the bride presented to the members of the groom’s family, grama?” Canutito prodded her. “Es una cosa muy formal como cuando una persona is presented to the queen?

“Sí, hijo,” she said. “La mamá y el papá del novio would take the bride by each arm and take her uno por uno to the groom’s brothers and sisters and tell her, ‘Mira, hija, ése es tu hermano nuevo’ so and so or ‘ésta es tu hermana nueva’ such and such. Then la novia would reply: ‘aprecio de conocerlo como mi hermano’; I’m glad to know you as my brother or sister.”

Yo pienso que I would rather de burned,” Canutito murmured.

“There is another form of ‘prender’,” Grama Cuca said, ignoring su comentario. There is a ceremony que se hace en Holy Thursday where los Hermanos Penitentes storm into the church and seize la estatua de Jesús, bind him and sentence him to death. Supone que ser una representación of what happened to Jesus cuando estaba praying in the Garden of Gethsemane en la noche, después que he had eaten La Última Cena con sus disciples.”

I remember that story, grama,” Canutito said to her. “Es la historia de la Agonía de Jesús in the garden after the Last Supper.” Then he asked her, “¿Quiénes son los ‘Hermanos Penitentes’?”

Ellos son un grupo de spiritual brothers that form una fraternidad or brotherhood. Esta religious society imita la Pasión y muerte de Jesús.”

“Is that ceremony also called ‘un prendorio’?” Canutito asked.

“No, m’hijo,” grama said. “Entonces it is called ‘un prendimiento’.”

“Prender, prendorio, prendimiento, my gosh they sound lo mismo,” Canutito said.

Grama thought she’d tease him some more so she asked him: “¿Comprendes, Mendes, o te explico, Federico?” Canutito just rolled su ojos saying, “¡Ay, Dios mío!”

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