In 1970, the people of Guam celebrated what was then called “Discovery day” or “Magellan day” a holiday in March to mark the date that Ferdinand Magellan made his notorious stopover in the Marianas. Over time, the people of Guam have reinterpreted that historic event and now acknowledge Magellan’s stopover as the first recorded encounter their indigenous ancestors had with the West. The holiday became part of CHamoru Week and is now celebrated for the entire month of March as Mes CHamoru. The first Monday in March remains a public holiday known as Guam History and CHamoru Heritage Day.The significance of these events lies in the evolution of renaming the day and expanding the celebration from one day, to a week and now to an entire month. This reclaiming of identity contributes to a major cultural shift in the way the CHamoru people look at themselves being centered in the historical equation. Growing community consciousness informs the discourse – how they have named and described events in their past and how they choose to represent their significance – such practices enhance their capacity to interpret the role and impact of historical players and events from an indigenous perspective. A very admirable trend, this shift is also seen as an awakening for the CHamoru people as they continue this journey of decolonization and actively engage in nation building. We enter the month of March with much anticipation, not just for the start of spring but also the celebration of Mes CHamoru or CHamoru Month. Like many other commemorative monthlong celebrations, Mes CHamoru centers the rich history, culture, and ancient traditions of the CHamoru people.
March 1, 2022 All day