Hafa Adai

Mes Chamoru 2016

You see that darling angel in the center? That is my little love.

As I’ve mentioned previously and seen in my About Me section, I’m from the tiny island of Guam, pronounced gwam. Better known to us natives as Guåhån, pronounced gwahan.

Every March is Mes Chamoru (Chamorro Month) in Guam. As a community, we celebrate our indigenous culture and heritage with events, which includes Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Day Festivals. Our schools encourage our youth to take part in festivities. In the photograph shown above, you’ll see my angel along with her classmates dressed in island wear. The traditional Chamorro female dress is called the mestiza. Now when mestizas are worn, it’s just ceremonial. And although Guam is very westernized, it is still very important. Dressing in the traditional Chamorro attire helps for our people to identify with our past. It demonstrates a connection and shows that we have something to be proud of, that we came from certain historical influences and we honor them 🙂

I began writing this full of excitement and willingness to share with all of you my heritage. As I started remembering certain events, it turned into a soft subject. Most would say that we’re following in the foot steps of the Native Americans or Native Hawaiians because of our constant battles with politics and whatnot. There has also been a drastic decrease in the number of Chamorro speakers in the recent years. Unfortunately, I’m one among many who cannot fluently speak my native language, but that is a different subject where you can learn more by visiting here. Even though we have experienced a cultural hybridity under multiple forms of colonialism under three different powers, we have struggled not to forget our unique culture and heritage, which have been passed down for 4,000 years. I’m proud to be a part of something so small compared to the rest of the world, yet so significant.

If you have time, and you decide to learn more about my home. I’d love to hear about what you find 🙂 feel free to comment below.

via Photo Challenge: Heritage

Just Jev


3 thoughts on “Hafa Adai”

  1. As an Australian, I have never learned anything about Guam other than where it is and that the US ‘owns’ it. It was interesting to learn about how hard the naval administrators worked at forcing Chamorros to learn English. Very similar practices were used on our Aboriginal people, having the effect of destroying culture and tradition, which in turn damages identity. I’m sorry to know the Chamorros suffered these things too, and I’m glad to know you celebrate your culture now, even as it’s been modified by the influence of USA and the English (and Spanish) languages. The culture of our birth is really precious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that 🙂 although most struggle and many argue on whether we are a part of the U.S. or simply just a territory, I am proud of my heritage regardless.

      Side Note: I plan to visit Australia soon! I think it’s a beautiful place.

      Liked by 1 person

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