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Three Important Culture and Festivals in Guam

Guam is one of the most misunderstood countries in the world. Is it a true country or is it merely an island? Does it have its own government or is it governed by the United States? Is it primarily a military installation or a vacation spot? What about Guam's festivals and culture? Are the majority of the people and activities Asian, Spanish, or American?

Guam is a stunning island nation in the midst of the Pacific Ocean that is a US territory rather than a state. With only 212 square miles of land, the population is made up of immigrants from Asia, Chamorro natives, and US service members. This diversity of people and ethnicities results in one thing: a vibrant and distinctively Guamanian culture.

People visit for the regional events in addition to the white beaches and fantastic dive locations. Liberation Day, Malojloj Fiesta, and Chamorro Lunar Calendar Festival, to name a few, are three of Guam's most significant cultural occasions.

The yearly Guam Liberation Day Parade begins at Marine Corps Drive Adelup and ends by the Paseo de Hagatña. American forces participate with a beautiful display of colors. Liberation Day celebration is a week-long event with festivals, carnivals and feasts. There are also nightly fireworks around the island’s 19 villages. These all culminate on the 21st with major parades, floats and several forms of entertainment such as concerts and parties in Hagatña, capital of Guam.

Since everyone on the island, both residents and visitors, are encouraged to join, the streets are overrun with people, producing severe traffic jams in all directions. Everyone is invited to one huge party.

Clearly, the biggest celebration in Guam takes place on July 21, when banks and schools close and people take to the streets to mark Liberation Day. Japanese troops invaded the island in 1941 and seized control for three years. According to the Chamorro people, these were Guam's darkest years ever. The Americans arrived and took over control of the island in 1944.

Another important well-known festivities of the island is the Malojloj Fiesta. It is held in May, mainly in Inarajan. This three-day celebration honors the patron saint, San Isidro, via customary activities including water buffalo racing and eating competitions. The main attraction of the event are the Chamorro foods and beer.
Malojloj is a community in the Municipality of Inarajan that relies largely on the coconut as a source of food, shelter, commerce, clothes, and medicine. The festival honors the coconut for sustaining life in the island as a very important commodity. As always, tourists and visitors are much welcome to join the feasts and taste uniquely delicious Chamorro food and beer.

The Santa Maria Kamalen, Guam's patron saint is Santa Maria Kamalen,  also known as Our Lady of Camarin. Although the origins of the 300-year-old Santa Marian Kamalen monument are unknown, they are explained through oral tradition. Every year on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated, and thousands of Guam Catholics gather in Hagåtña to worship Santa Marian Kamalen in a procession across the island's capital.
Guam's patron saint is Santa Marian Kamalen, who is also said to protect the island from typhoons, earthquakes, wars, and other natural catastrophes.

Every parish on the island has an annual day to honor its patron, which includes mass, a parade, and food. Newspapers and television broadcast these feasts and send out photographers, and interviewees interviewed for this study often knew when and where the next feast was.


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