America’s New Year’s starts here!

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America’s New Year’s starts here!

by: David Hurwitz | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: December 24, 2012

Somewhat contrary to the Hafa Adai spirit, which causes Guam to be laid back in many ways, the island is actually the first part of the U.S. to greet the new year, one day ahead of the rest of the country.

Fireworks displays, both large and small, will light up the sky to delight local residents and tourists who scramble to find good viewing sites. Family barbeques at homes, in parks and on beaches will be held, with the aromas from the food tantalizing passers-by and varying depending on the ethnic origin of the cooks. The young will go clubbing at the many establishments on island, while the older and well-heeled will attend parties at the hotels lining Tumon Bay.

The Year of the Snake will soon be upon us, and whether you plan on celebrating the start of the new year on base or off, here are some of the ways you can welcome in 2013.

Oh, and as they say on Guam, “Magof na Anu Nuebu!” Happy New Year!

Island-wide events ring in New Year’s Guam-style

Guam – “where America’s day begins” – may be a small island but as with its many visitors, when it comes to welcoming the new year, it has a big heart. Here is a sampling of ways you can celebrate New Year’s and join Guamanians in being the first in America to ring in 2013. 

Fireworks

The main event on island is the annual Tropical Fantasy Fireworks display hosted by the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association at midnight on New Year’s Eve at Ypao Beach Park in Tumon. The show is the most popular event of the New Year’s holiday, with the best viewing spots said to be along the shores of Tumon Bay at Matapang Beach Park or Gun Beach. The rockets red glare can also apparently be seen from Tiyan, Barrigada Heights and near Fort Apugan in Agana Heights.

Many locals on Guam opt to see the pyrotechnics from nearby hotels, requesting rooms that face the beach, while others plop down on the beach and hold their own parties while waiting for the show.

The fireworks display is so popular that two more shows have been scheduled. The first, sponsored by the Guam Visitors Bureau, will also be held at midnight on Dec. 31 at Guerrero Field in Agana.

Another will take place, also at midnight, at The Beach, a club on Tumon Bay.   

Major Hotels

Hilton Guam Resort and Spa

* Enjoy the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party at the Hilton Treebar. Dance the night away and toast the New Year while watching the fireworks. Doors open at 9 p.m.

* Ring in the New Year with other mealtime celebrations throughout the hotel, including Roy’s Premium Dinner from 6 p.m. to midnight. $150 per adult, includes entrance to party at the Treebar; a lobster dinner at Fisherman’s Cove from 5:30 p.m. $100 per adult, $50 for special children’s menu; dinner buffet at Islander Terrace from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. $55 per adult, $28 per child, includes entrance to party at the Treebar.

* Eat Long Life Noodles made of buckwheat at midnight on New Year’s Eve from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Lobby Lounge. $14 for soba buckwheat noodle soup, $17.50 for soba buckwheat noodle soup with tempura.

* Get into the Japanese tradition of mochitsuki (rice pounding) at Banyan Point on Jan. 1, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 (free for hotel guests).

* New Year’s Day events include a Champagne Brunch at Island Terrace at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., a Dinner Buffet at Island Terrance from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., a Special Dinner at Fisherman’s Cove, and a Special Dinner at Roy’s on both Jan. 1 and 2 at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Call 646-1835 for more details.

Outrigger Guam Resort

Party in the lobby with a buffet and dancing from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. $54.95 for adults, $28.50 for children (6 to 12), plus service charge. Or be a late-nighter with a New Year’s celebration featuring an open bar, buffet and view of the nearby fireworks. $65 for adults, $34.50 for children (6 to 12), plus service charge.  

Call 649-9000 for details.

Westin Resort Guam

* Have an eight-course Bubbly New Year’s Eve Dinner at Prego, including entry to the Glitz and Glow Countdown Party at poolside and one complimentary drink. $120 per person +10% service charge.

* There’s a New Year’s Eve Count Down from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Taste, offering a premium buffet, welcome drink and live band/DJ. Also includes entry to the Glitz and Glow Countdown Party at poolside. $130 for adults, $40 for children.

* Misty’s is hosting a Starlight BBQ from 10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., also with entrance to the Glitz and Glow 2013 Countdown Party, with an open bar, a fire dance show and a sparkling wine toast at midnight. $40 for adults, $20 for children

Call 647-1020 for details.

Guam Marriott Resort and Spa

* Enjoy a New Year’s Eve Dinner at the Manhattan Steakhouse, including a glass of champagne and wine, for $100 per person (plus 15% service charge).

* Follow it up the next day with a New Year’s Day Brunch buffet at the Marriott Café for $38 (plus 10% service charge).

Call 649-7827 for details.

Bars

The Beach

* This bar on Tumon Bay will help you welcome in the New Year in style with its “Beach Bash at The Beach” priced at $150 per couple to up to $450 for a V-VIP table of up to four, with different food and drink packages offered.

* For the more impecunious among you, the bar is holding “The New Year’s Eve Beach Bash” @ The Beach at $40 per person, offering an all-you-can-eat buffet and all-you-can-drink Bud and Bud Light. There will be a DJ, champagne toast and fireworks.

Call 649-7275 for details.

A return to tradition

Jan. 1 is the beginning of the modern calendar year, but this has not always been the case for cultures following the lunar calendar, like the Chamorro people on Guam.

The moon has always had great significance for the Chamorro people because its movement affects the tides as well as the growing cycles of plants and animals. The daily fishing, farming and other activities of ancient Chamorros were guided by changes in the moon and their culture developed accordingly.

With the adoption of the solar calendar, certain cultural practices began to wane. It is in order to revive some aspects of Chamorro culture that The Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association intends to hold the 5th annual Gupot Fanha’aniyan Pulan Chamoru (Chamorro Lunar Calendar Festival) at a date to be determined in February. The lunar New Year will start on Feb. 10 in 2013. 

The 2013 Chamorro Lunar Calendar is expected to be released at the festival. Containing tide charts and seasonal fishing predictions, the calendar is published to raise awareness about the area’s fishing ecosystem and preserve Chamorro language related to fishing, according to a news report on last year’s festival.

The 2013 event in once again expected to be held at the Fishermen’s Coop in Agana, next to Chamorro Village. A major highlight will likely be the preparation of traditional food, such as fish, taro, yams, breadfruit, tapioca and sweet potatoes, through the use of a “chinahan,” or deep pit. Food wrapped in banana leaves will be cooked among hot rocks in the pit, with everyone at the event invited to share the feast.

On Base

Naval Base Guam
Kelly Bell Band and comedy/magician Michael Kent
Dec. 31, 9 p.m. Molly McGee’s Irish Pub.  Free tickets available at ITT and Molly McGee’s. Advance ticket required. Call 929-6934 for details.

New Year’s Bash at Orote Point Lanes
Dec. 31, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Enjoy a live DJ, games, and giveaways along with bowling, pizza, and unlimited beverages for $90.

Andersen Air Force Base
New Year’s Eve Bash
Dec. 31, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Top of the Rock Ballroom. Enjoy entertainment, beverages, hors d’oeuvres and prizes. Members $10, Nonmembers $12. Call 366-6166 for details.

Kelly Bell Band and comedy/magician Michael Kent
Jan. 1, 4 p.m. Bamboo Willies. Free. Call 653-9814 for details.

New Year’s Services

Naval Base Guam
Catholic
Dec. 31, 5 p.m. – New Year’s Eve Mass
Jan. 1, 10 a.m. – New Year’s Day Mass

Andersen Air Force Base
Catholic (Chapel 1)
Jan. 1, 11 a.m. – New Year’s Day Mass

 

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