Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tis the Season for...Boñelos

Some articles about Puengen Minagof Nochebuena. This past year and some press releases from years before. Si Yu'us Ma'ase to the Pacific Daily News for their generous coverage this year!! Ko'lo'lo'na si Jojo Santos Tomas yan Si Sue Lee! Puede ha' nina'haspok hamoy ni' todu i kinanno'-miyu buñelos gi ma'pos na simana!


Fashion, doughnuts highlighted at UOG's Puengen Minagof Nochebuena 2015

Cultural fashion and delicious treats will highlight Puengen Minagof Nochebuena 2015 Friday night at the University of Guam campus, and the public is invited.

The event is presented by the  University of Guam Division of Humanities at the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Chamorro Studies Program. It runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building (HSS) Atrium.

"For this year's Puengen Minagof Nochebuena we are changing things up a little. Normally we have a Bilen making competition, but this year we've instead decided to make a life-size Bilen display with students acting out the various roles of the Nativity figures. Not focusing on the Bilen this time means students are freed up to work on other aspects of a Chamorro Christmas celebration such as cooking and singing," says Michael Bevacqua, Chamorro Language professor at UOG.

"The evening will include dancing, singing, the praying of a nobena and lots of fina'mames, or sweets. Chamorro language students will offer a wide variety of boñelos (sweet fritters), led by the traditional holiday boñelos dågu, made from grated taro and served with a sweet syrup. Other boñelos varieties include breadfruit, banana, mango and more."

The evening will culminate in a multicultural fashion show. It will feature modan Chamoru, or Chamorro fashion, by students taking Chamorro language classes at UOG.

"The Chamorro fashion show will feature Chamorros in outfits ranging from Ancient to Colonial. Students will be wearing shell jewelry, sade' and grass skirts reminiscent of our ancient ancestors, but also mestisas and khaki pants with woven hats in traditional Spanish and early American-era lancheru style. The fashion show or modan Chamoru was included to add some extra color and flourish to the evening," says Bevacqua.

The UOG administration cordially invites the public to join the students in ushering the 2015 holiday season. You may call 735-2800 for more information. There is no cost to attend.

"This event is important for our CHamoru Language students and for the community, because we are not only passing on the language, but we are passing on certain traditions that have long been connected to Chamorro culture," says Bevacqua. "In preparing for Puengen Minagof many students end up talking to their elders and relatives about these traditions, and this helps to facilitate inter-generational transmission of language and family history. Delicious food and merry festivities is the perfect environment for this type of education."


A night of Chamorro holiday traditions
Sue Lee
The Pacific Daily News
December 9, 2015

At the end of every year, the students and staff members of the University of Guam’s Chamorro Studies program showcase Guam’s holiday traditions through Puengan Minagof Nochebuena.

“Puengen minagof means ‘a night of happiness.’ This is our way of giving back to the community by showing what we do in the classrooms. We do this by incorporating it into our traditional novena,” says Ruth Mendiola, professor of Chamorro language.

In some Chamorro households, nine nights of novena, “prayer,” is done at the end of the year. It’s a time for families to come together.

“For me it’s about enjoying family time, forgetting about all the bad stuff that happened throughout the year, and just enjoying everyone’s presence now,” says Jerome Eclavea, Chamorro studies student, 27, of Sinajana.

Laughter and singing rang loudly as you walked through the doors and into the atrium of University of Guam’s Humanities and Social Sciences Building on the night of Dec. 4.

Students cooked up their own version of boñelos and layered two tables with a variety of crispy, local donuts. Students also acted out a live nativity scene.

“I grew up in Inarajan. … As a child I remember hearing songs and novenas as I passed our neighbors’ homes,” says Luke Duenas, program coordinator of graduate studies.

“Each home had different types of decorations and bilen (nativity scene). Each home was different. I also remember grating dagu (yam) as a kid,” he adds.

December is the month to harvest dagu. Once harvested, they are made into boñelos. Making boñelos is a Chamorro holiday tradition.

“I just enjoy events like this because I relive my past. Neighborhood interactions like that don’t happen as much anymore because Guam is so diversified. Tradition is almost phasing out. I’m glad the younger kids have a lot of interest in Chamorro language and culture,” says Duenas.

“For me it means a lot because I’m learning a lot about my own culture and my culture is dying. Participating in events like this interest me,” says student Natasha Charfauros, 18, of Agat.

Puengen Minagof Nochebueno has a different featured activity every year. Last year, every class built a nativity scene with all-natural materials.

The year before, it was boñelos cooking demonstrations. Even the syrup used for the boñelos was made the traditional way, with star fruit, says Mendiola.

This year the students were encouraged to make different types of boñelos.

The traditional dagu, bananas and breadfruit were present, but the students got creative and made some with pineapples and peaches. Some students used yeast for the boñelos dagu, which makes it airy.

Among the treats, guests devoured malasadas as well, the Hawaiian sugar-coated version of boñelos.
The other focus was on language such as singing traditional and non-traditional Chamorro songs.
The night ended with a fashion show of students, pairing off and strutting down the middle with Chamorro clothing following the timeline from ancient to the colonial era.


CHamoru language classes to host 'Puengen Minagof 2013 
The Saipan Tribune
December 3, 2013

On Dec. 6 from 5:30pm to 9pm, the University of Guam CHamoru language students will be hosting Puengen Minagof Nochebuena, in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Puengen Minagof is an annual celebration of CHamoru language and culture organized by CHamoru language instructors at the University of Guam. CHamoru language students in classes ranging from beginner to advanced will performing in CHamoru Christmas-themed activities.

Students will perform a nativity play, recite slam poetry, and will sing a variety of CHamoru Christmas carols. Refreshments will be available, most importantly boñelos. This Puengen Minagof will feature many types of boñelos that people may be familiar with, and many new flavors one might not expect.

The making of a bilen, or a nativity scene, is an important part of CHamoru culture during this time of year. Groups of students will be working together to create their own interpretation of this important cultural tradition. These bilen will be on display and will be competing for the “Best Bilen” award. The public is invited to attend and vote for the “People’s Choice Award” Bilen.

The event is free and open to the public.


UOG students host Puengen Minagof Nochebuena
by Krystal Paco
Posted: Dec 05, 2012 4:37 PM Updated: Dec 14, 2012 10:33 AM

Guam - Puengen Minagof Nochebuena 2012 is set for Friday, December 7 at the University of Guam Humanities and Social Sciences Building. The event is hosted by the UOG Chamorro language students and will include a student belen displays competition, Christmas ornaments weaving and customizing Chamorro t-shirts, Chamorro delicacies and learning how to make tatiyas harina using Christmas cookie cutters, a live nativity play, and Chamorro Christmas carols.

For more information, contact Rosa Palomo at 727-5522 or email

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