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Cielito Lindo Lyrics, Meaning & Translation

Cielito Lindo (Meaning: Pretty little sweetheart; Pronunciation see-ehl-ee-toh leen-doh) is a famous Mexican folk song made famous by author Quirino Mendoza y Cortés in 1882. In this post we’ll provide a line-by-line explanation of the song lyrics vocabulary, verbs and grammar.

Cielito Lindo

Song background

The song’s title, Cielito Lindo, has several translations. Cielo translates literally to sky or heaven. However, in Spanish mi cielo is a term of endearment meaning “my sweetheart”, “my dear” or “my darling.

Cielito is a diminutive of cielo meaning “little sweetheart” or “little darling”. Lindo in Spanish means “pretty”. Hence, Cielito lindo translates more or less to “Pretty little sweetheart”.

The lines of the song are in the form of a seguidilla, which refers to the ways the lyrics’ syllables are structured. The song is presumably sung from the standpoint of a man to a woman he loves, asking or telling her not to kiss anybody else.

Countless artists have performed and recorded the song over the years including the famous Mexican singers Pedro Infante and Vicente Fernandez.

Listen to Cielito Lindo

The following video of Mexican singer Pedro Infante singing Cielito Lindo has over 10 million views.

You can also listen on Spotify:

Line-by-line lyrics analysis

In this section we’ll explain the vocabulary, verbs and grammar of the song.

De la Sierra Morena

This line translate to “from the Sierra Morena”. It’s unclear whether the song lyrics make reference to the Sierra Morena mountain range in sourthern Spain or the Sierra de Morones mountain range in western Mexico.

Cielito lindo, vienen bajando

This line translates literally to “Pretty little sweetheart, coming down”. Vienen is the third-person plural form of venir (to come). Bjando is the present participle of the verb bajar (to go down). The translation on the Wiki page for the song translates vienen bajando to “appeared”.

We explain the progresive particle (verb+ing) on this page of our site.

Un par de ojitos negros

This line translates to “A pair of brown eyes”. The noun par translates to “pair” or “couple”. Ojitos is a diminutive of ojo (eye). Negro is the adjective for “black” in Spanish.

Cielito lindo, de contrabando

The Wiki page translates this line translates to “Pretty little sweetheart, sneaking by”. Contrabando translates to “contraband”, “smuggling” and “bootlegging”.

Ay, ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores

These lines trasnatle to “Ay, ay, ay, ay, sing and don’t cry”. Both canta and no llores are the verbs cantar (to sing) and llorar (to cry) conjugated in the imperative mood, which is the verb tense for giving commands in Spanish.

Porque cantando se alegran, cielito lindo, los corazones

These two lines translate to “Because by singing, pretty little sweetheart, our hearts become happy.” Porque translates to “because” Spanish, which is easy to confuse with por qué (why). Cantando is the present participle of cantar (to sing).

Se alegran is the third-person plural form of the reflexive verb alegrarse (to be happy, glad or pleased). The noun corazón means “heart” in Spanish.

Pájaro que abandona, cielito lindo, su primer nido

These lines translate to “A bird that abandons, its first nest, pretty little sweetheart”. Pájaro means “bird” in Spanish. The relative pronoun que translates to “that”, “which” and “who”.

Abandona is the third-person singular form of the verb abandonar (to abandon, give up, leave). Su is a possessive adjective meaning “his”, “her” or “its”. Nido means nest in Spanish.

Si lo encuentra ocupado, cielito lindo, bien merecido

These lines translate to “If he finds it occupied, pretty little sweetheart, it is well deserved.”. While si means “if” in Spanish, sí with an accent means yes. Lo is a direct object pronoun meaning “it”.

The adjective ocupado translates to “occupied”, “taken”, “in use” and “busy”. The adverb bien means “well” in Spanish. The adjective merecido is related to the verb merecer (to deserve).

Ese lunar que tienes, cielito lindo, junto a la boca

These lines translate to “this beauty mark that you have, pretty little sweetheart, beside your mouth.”. Ese translates to “that” prior to a masculine noun. The word lunar translates to “mole”, “beauty and birth mark” as well as the English adjective “lunar”.

Tienes is the second-person singular () form of the verb tener (to have). Junto a + noun translates to “besides”, “next to” and “along/together with”. The adjective junto means “together”. Boca means “mouth” in Spanish.

Una flecha en el aire, cielito lindo, lanzó Cupido

These lines translate to “an arrow in the air, pretty little sweetheart, thrown by Cupid.” Flecha means “arrow” or “dart” and aire means air. Lanzó is the third-person singular (él/ella) preterite (a commonly used Spanish past tense) form of the verb lanzar (to throw).

Si la tiró jugando, Cielito lindo, a mí me ha herido

These lines translate literally to: “If he shot it playing, pretty little sweetheart, he has injured me.”. La is a direct object pronoun meaning “it”. Jugando is the present participle of jugar (to play).

A mí me ha herido translates literally to “to me (he) has injured”. Ha herido is the past perfect tense of the verb herir (to injure, wound).

Cielito Lindo lyrics

Cielito Lindo Lyrics

De la Sierra Morena,
Cielito lindo, vienen bajando,
Un par de ojitos negros,
Cielito lindo, de contrabando.

From the Sierra Morena
Pretty little sweetheart
A pair of brown eyes
Darling sweetheart, sneaking by

Ay, ay, ay, ay,
Canta y no llores,
Porque cantando se alegran,
cielito lindo, los corazones.

Ay, ay, ay, ay,
Sing and don’t cry
Because by singing,
Pretty little sweetheart, our hearts become happy.

Pájaro que abandona,
Cielito lindo, su primer nido,
Si lo encuentra ocupado,
Cielito lindo, bien merecido.

A bird that abandons
Its first nest, pretty little sweetheart
If he finds it occupied
Pretty little sweetheart, it is well deserved.

Ese lunar que tienes,
Cielito lindo, junto a la boca,
No se lo des a nadie,
cielito lindo, que a mí me toca.

This beauty mark that you have,
Pretty little sweetheart, beside your mouth
Don’t give it to anybody
Pretty little sweetheart, because it’s my turn.

Una flecha en el aire,
Cielito lindo, lanzó Cupido,
Si la tiró jugando,
Cielito lindo, a mí me ha herido.

An arrow in the air,
Pretty little sweetheart, thrown by Cupid,
If he shot it playing,
Pretty little sweetheart, he has injured (hit) me.

David Issokson