Monday, January 27, 2014

The Light of the Moon

Living by the Light of the Moon
by Lacee Martinez

Beyond illuminating the night sky, the moon synchronizes the life cycles of the flora and fauna of the islands and ocean.

Guam's ancient seafaring people also relied on moon phases to guide their lives, says John Calvo, a local fishing advocate.

"Modern Chamorro traditions and cultural values have evolved from these practices that encourage living in respect and harmony with the island environment," he says.

Celebrate the continuing connection between life and the moon on Sunday at the 6th annual Gupot Fanha'aniyan Pulan CHamoru, or the Chamorro Lunar Calendar Festival.

The Guam Fishermen's Cooperative Association, with support of various agencies and groups, will hold a celebration at the cooperative's grounds beside the Chamorro Village and Greg D. Perez Marina in Hagåtña on Sunday.

Expect a day packed with cultural activities, local crafts, fruits and vegetables for sale, while picking up your copy of the new calendar.

The Chamorro Lunar Calendar Committee, under the auspices of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, will be distributing one calendar per family at the event, which features the moon phases in the Chamorro language, the Guam tide charts and fishing seasons.
This year's festival theme is "Tinilaikan Klema yan Inirensian Lugat: Direcho yan Opbligasion," or "Climate Change and Traditional Places: Rights and Responsibilities."

"This theme encourages discussion on how climate change impacts our Chamorro culture and traditional places," says Calvo, who also is coordinating the event. "Traditional knowledge and cultural practices promote sustainable use of natural resources through cultural rights and responsibilities, as mandated by our Chamorro cultural values. The lunar movement directs the life cycles of the flora and fauna of the land and ocean and central to life in our islands. The practice of culture and traditions has provided the people of the Marianas resiliency and ensured the availability of food through sound traditional management of natural resources."

The public can observe a traditional underground oven preparation during one of the highlights of the event. The chinahan ceremony will feature fish and starch crops, including yams, breadfruit and taro, being placed in the chåhan, or underground oven. The feast will be unearthed at 4 p.m. and shared with the public in the spirit of the Chamorro culture, Calvo says.

The festival also will feature displays, demonstrations, exhibits and live entertainment by local artisans, much of it done in Chamorro.

Bring some cash to purchase the various crafts, locally grown produce, foods and other items up for sale at the event.

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