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"The meeting"--stage one of the wedding process. Two young people meet and fall in love.
Portion of a batik by Judy Flores.


“The Catholic wedding here still follows a lot of the patterns of the ancient wedding,” Anne explains. “In the ancient marriage, the man’s family had to pretty much sponsor the entire process. It was their event because they had to demonstrate that they were worthy, that they could take care of this woman. They had to demonstrate to the woman’s family that they had a house, and that they had resources. Still today, the man’s family is supposed to shoulder the burden for weddings."



“There’s what we call the ‘traditional wedding,’ even before the marriage ceremony itself, where the man’s family will come to the bride’s house the day before the wedding with gifts and the like."


The second stage of the traditional wedding is called oriya, "secret meeting." Here the young couple must be discrete, because if they are caught together, they are automatically "married" in the eyes of the parents.

In the second portion of Judy Flores' batik, the young man calls at the young woman's window.


Batik part 2



“When my mother got married, even the wedding dress, flowers for the wedding, they brought over all of these the day before the wedding, as a kind of dowry. They come over the night before, even with a band and with their family, and they all come to the bride’s house, and then there’s a big party the night before the wedding."

Famaisen Saina, "to ask permission" (from the parents). This step makes the engagement official. The boy's entire family goes to the girl's house to present gifts.

This event is entirely between the two families, and does not include the boy and girl themselves. Part three of Judy Flores' batik.



“The actual wedding itself is in the church, and usually right after the wedding, the man and the woman go and visit all the relatives who are too sick—usually elderly who couldn’t come to the wedding. They even go to the cemeteries to visit relatives who have died, especially when it’s parents and grandparents or any close brothers or sisters or anything like that.

“So that is kind of an ancient carry over. After the wedding, but before you go to the party, you’re expected to go and make all these visits. Before the celebration, you have to pay respects, usually to the elders and the spirits of the deceased.”

Komplemento, where the male's family "compliments" the bride-to-be by bringing over the entire wedding outfit, the ring, and other gifts for the wedding, all in one big box. Part four of Judy Flores' batik.




“Women have a very strong role in the family and also a strong role in controlling money or controlling economic assets. In ancient times, women controlled the land because the society was matrilineal. Now even today, women control paychecks, and control any family assets. Often it’s really the mother who decides when you can get a new car, and in some families, all the children or whoever lives in the house, their paychecks all go to the mother. So after you get paid, your mom gets the paycheck, and then she gives you your allowance. But then she manages paying the rent, paying whatever else needs to be paid. There’s still a big continuity in terms of women’s roles.”

Umasagua, or umakammo', the wedding or marriage. The final portion of Judy Flores' batik shows the married couple paying respect to the elders. The young woman demonstrates the mangnginge'.



“In terms of the non-material culture, there is I think a lot of that has survived on Guam," Anne concludes. "It’s just not apparent to the eye, but for example, the roles of people in the family, the roles of the elderly, the roles of children, the roles of the women—a lot of those are still very much the same as what our oldest accounts said. The wedding and the role of women looks different but actually it’s still very much the same kind of practice, the same system."

A related set of traditional values is associated with funerals. This is the chenchule' system.



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