Key Holiday Events in Guam
New Year’s Eve
Guam’s close proximity to the International Date Line places the island well ahead of the United States and most of the world and is one of the earliest countries to officially ring in the New Year. Every New Year is welcomed with a fantastic fireworks display over Tumon Bay at midnight with many celebrations and parties hosted by hotels and establishments that line the bay.
Mes Chamoru and Discovery Day
Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Month, or simply Mes Chamoru, is the time of year when the Guam community celebrates and reflects on the island’s native culture. Mes Chamoru kicks off with Guam History & Chamorro Heritage Day, which falls on the first Monday of the month of March.
One of the key events during Mes Chamoru is the Guam Discovery Day celebration hosted in one of the island’s most scenic villages, the southern village of Umatac. The festivity showcases the historical value, rich culture, and traditions of the Chamorro people through guided heritage walking tours and a theatrical re-enactment of the landing of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
BBQ Block Party
Coinciding with U.S. Independence Day that is celebrated on July 4th, the annual BBQ Block Party takes place at Pleasure Island in the Heart of Tumon Bay. No other event celebrates Guam's love for the grill better than the annual Guam BBQ Block Party. The enticing aroma of this culinary and cultural event fill the closed-off streets of Tumon and dozens of vendors sell a variety of local and international cuisine, merchandise, and handmade crafts. Live art, music, and entertainment add to this family-friendly event that is open to the public.
Liberation Day is Guam’s biggest holiday and is celebrated annually on July 21st. Commemorating the day Guam was liberated from Japanese forces on July 21, 1944, Liberation Day is a day the island honors the 1,170 Chamorros who were killed during the occupation, and the 14,721 who endured atrocities of the war. Liberation Day celebrates the war survivors who are with us today, as well as the brave servicemen who fought and won the battle for Guam. Liberation Day is marked every year with a grand parade down Marine Corps Drive in the island’s capital village of Hagåtña, and the celebration continues into the evening with the Liberation carnival and fireworks.
In some ways, celebrating Christmas on Guam is quite different from traditional customs and legend. For instance, you might find Santa and his elves relaxing in the shade of a coconut tree on a white-sand beach, wearing shorts and slippers instead of a red suit and boots. Or you might be surprised to discover Santa delivering gifts from a carabao-drawn cart instead of a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. While some Christmas traditions have been adapted for life on a resort island, there are others, such as the annual Christmas Village display in Tumon and a number of other annual holiday displays, that remain unchanged and are greatly anticipated by local families and children every year.