791. Curaçao’s Random Fascination with ‘Buki di Bristol’

Andechi Calvert_Papegaai

Shon Albert.

I was lucky to meet Andéchi literally  ‘little Andrés’ a few months ago. Mind you, Shon Andrés Corsino Albert was born on February 4, 1938, but still goes by his nomber chikí… His mother found his name in the buki di Bristol of 1938; “you wonder why most of our names (Eleuterio, Nestor, Ramiro, Lidia, Dionisio, Anselmo, Gregorio, Macario etc) sound Spanish as opposed to Papiamentu? Blame ‘buki di Bristol’!”

I looked up ‘February 4’ in my mother’s buki di Bristol stack, and yep, the date matches the birth of San Andrés, San Corcini, and San Donato. A household staple, the 32-page buki di Bristol (full name: Almanaque Almanaque_Bistol222Pintoresco de Bristol) has been published yearly since 1832 by Lanman & Kemp-Barcalay & Co in Westwood, NJ to promote their products in Latin America:

Agua Florida (‘the original and only colgne you’ll ever need’ has over 20 uses!), Tricofero de Barry, Jabon de Reuter, Aerosol de Dinero.

Widely popular in Latin America, each region gets a tailor-made edition in early November. Curaçao falls under “Hispano-Americano”, with Central America, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Aruba. We buy our highly-coveted copy at sponsoring drugstores and supermarkets in November, December and January.

Aside from baby names, we tend to reference buki di Bristol for weather forecasts, our annual horoscope, dates of full moons and lunar eclipses, best days to go out fishing…

But also to acquire fresh new superstitions. In fact in 2001 there was a whole section on candles; ‘si la vela no enciende, habrá una tormenta en camino, mientras que si la llama ondea o gotea en un cuarto donde no hace viento o no hay corriente de aire, cualquier clase de mal tiempo es inminente‘), Spanish slang (Paloma = un hombre bueno, Piquituerto = un hombre argumentativo), jokes (Mamá, el termómetro ha bajado… / ¿Cuánto Luisito? /  Tres pisos, se me cayó a la calle…) and prayers.

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in Manhattan but sometimes miss my first awesome island. Thanks for visiting!

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