Kyle's island insights: Who's your Pari?


Kyle's island insights: Who's your Pari?

by: Kyle Mandapat | .
The Guam Guide | .
published: August 21, 2013

Hafa Adai and what’s up! Hope everything is going well for you and I hope you had an awesome summer! I hope you had a chance to check out the Liberation Day Carnival I was raving about and I hope the sun wasn’t too harsh on you if you made it to the parade.

This month, we take a look at the term pari’. A simple enough single syllable word, but what could it mean? Has someone called you pari’ lately? Why? Welllll… let’s see…

The use of this word goes back to the religious depth of the catholics of Guam. Growing up, I remember the word being thrown around quite frequently. Honestly, my Uncle Mark can throw this out at least forty times in an hour if he’s at the right party.

A pari’ or kumpaire’ is the father of one of your godchildren. The word kumparie comes from the Spanish word compadre. In the Catholic sense, when babies are baptized they are baptized by their parents and a set of godparents whom are supposed to help the parents raise the child in the most Catholic ways. The children call their godfather “Nino” and their godmother, “Nina” and the respective parents refer to each other as either mali’ (for the women) or pari’ (for the dudes).

Nowadays things have evolved a bit. From what I can tell, the term has taken on more of a title in everyday life. I don’t have any godchildren on Guam — they all moved to the mainland — but I still call at least three to four people “par” on the normal. A good amount of people, myself included, call people “par” as a term of friendship, like “buddy” or “pal” except not so… Beaver Cleaver.

The term still holds a great deal of weight when talking with the parents of your godchildren and so on, but has also been added to the everyday lingo of the people of Guam. Next time you make a friend that you would trust with the spiritual well being of your next child, feel free to let it flow, forget calling them “Randall,” and just call them your par.

You can read more about pari’ and tons of other interesting facts about Chamorro culture on Guampedia.

Hope this helps with any questions you may have. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to yell for me on Facebook or Twitter @kylemandapat or email me at! Until next month, have fun, be safe and hear you on the radio!

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