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 Sunday, 26 October 2014
Fiestas: An Island Tradition for Guamanians and Visitors PDF Print E-mail
Written by Guam Visitors Bureau   
Monday, 04 October 2004

Guam's traditional fiestas invite visitors to experience the traditions and lifestyle of Guam's indigenous people, the Chamorro.

Introduced by the Spanish in 1668, the village-wide celebrations are special events honoring the patron saints of the island's 19 villages, and continue the traditions developed on the island during three centuries of Spanish rule.

Residents of Guam's villages welcome visitors to their fiestas. In fact, "the more, the merrier." Because it is first and foremost a Catholic religious celebration, a fiesta typically begins with a mass on Saturday night, followed by a procession of villagers carrying a statue of their saint through the streets. Then it's back to the church hall, where the feasting and celebration lasts late into the night. The village fiesta continues into the next day, Sunday, with residents inviting friends and relatives into their homes for more private celebrations.

Participating in a fiesta gives one a glimpse of Guam's unique culture and a chance to meet some of her people and sample a few traditional treats. Chamorro feasts usually include such popular local dishes as roast suckling pig, red rice (the coloring comes from achote seeds), Chamorro spinach (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk), cadon guihan (fish cooked in coconut milk) and kelaguen (chopped broiled chicken seasoned with lemon juice, grated coconut and hot peppers).

There are a bevy of fiestas scheduled throughout the island each year, and visitors may want to plan their itineraries in order to be able to attend one of them. It's an experience that few tourists take the time to seek out, but those who do will find it one of the highlights of their stay.

Following is a list of Guam's village fiestas, and the month in which each is celebrated. Mayors for each of the villages can provide more details and dates for the fiestas.

January - Octave of Christmas - Mary, Mother of God; Holy Day of Obligation - Asan village fiesta in honor of Nino Perdido, the Holy Family - Tumon village fiesta in honor of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores - Chalan Pago village fiesta in honor of Nuestra Seņora de la Paz y Buen Viaje - Mongmong village fiesta in honor of Nuestra Seņora de las Aguas

February - Maina village fiesta in honor of Our Lady of Purification - Yigo village fiesta in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

March - Inarajan village fiesta in honor of St. Joseph, husband of Mary

April - Barrigada village fiesta in honor of San Vicente Ferrer - Agafa Gumas village fiesta in honor of Santa Bernadita - Merizo village fiesta in honor of San Dimas

May - Inarajan village fiesta in honor of St. Joseph Patrocino - Molojloj village fiesta in honor of San Isidro - Santa Rita village fiesta in honor of Santa Rita

June - Chalan Pago village fiesta in honor of Sacred Heart of Jesus - Toto village fiesta in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Tamuning village fiesta in honor of St. Anthony - Ordot village fiesta in honor of San Juan Bautista

July - Agat village fiesta in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - Agat village fiesta in honor of Santa Ana Patroness of Christian Mothers

August - Tamuning village fiesta in honor of St. Victor - Piti village fiesta in honor of the Assumption of Our Lady - Barrigada village fiesta in honor of San Roke - Agat village fiesta in honor of Santa Rosa - Canada-Barrigada village fiesta in honor of San Ramon

September - Hagatna/Anigua village fiesta in honor of Dulce Nombre de Maria - Talofofo village fiesta in honor of San Miguel - Mangilao village fiesta in honor of Santa Teresita

October - Yona village fiesta in honor of St. Francis of Assisi - Umatac village fiesta in honor of San Dionisio - Sinajana village fiesta in honor of St. Jude Thaddeus

November - Agaņa Heights village fiesta in honor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament - Dededo village fiesta in honor of Santa Barbara

December - Local holiday in honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady - Santa Rita village fiesta in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe

About Guam Situated in the Western Pacific, approximately 3,800 miles west of Hawaii and 1,550 miles south of Japan, Guam provides beautiful and isolated beaches, world-class diving and snorkeling, and a variety of cultural and historical sites, activities and events. Its geographic location makes Guam the gateway to Micronesia and, with excellent air service to cities throughout Asia, a convenient stop-over point for trans-Pacific travelers.

More information about Guam, its hotels and attractions can be obtained by contacting the North American Office of the Guam Visitors Bureau, 1301 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 210, Alameda, CA 94501, (800) 873-4826/(800-US-3-GUAM) or e-mail guam@avisoinc.com or visit the Guam Web site at www.visitguam.org

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 December 2006 )
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