‘13 Months in Malesso’' teaches CHamoru lunar calendar and captures beauty of Guam’s seasons and family traditions

by Akina Chargualaf
University of Guam

Ancient CHamorus marked time based on the cycles of the moon and the seasons of their islands. Mindful of this tradition, author Dolores Barcinas Santos captured the seasons of her family in Guam’s village of Malesso’ with her new book, “13 Months in Malesso’.” The book shares how she and her cousins have monthly traditions, just like their ancestors, that help them tell time and stay connected to their village.

Published by Taiguini Books of the University of Guam Press, the book will be launched at 10 a.m. at the Malesso’ Recreational Center by the Malesso’ Pier on Saturday, July 13, followed by a series of author readings.

Featuring vibrant acrylic paintings by artist Jessica Perez-Jackson, “13 Months in Malesso’” highlights the ways in which Guam provides an abundance of land and ocean resources that have sustained people for thousands of years. Santos describes each of the 13 months in the CHamoru lunar calendar and connects them to the practices and traditions of her family today. The book also includes a listing of the peak seasons for different fruits and vegetables that grow on Guam throughout the year.

“We are very excited to share this beautiful book that features our CHamoru lunar calendar and celebrates past and present CHamoru customs,” said UOG Press Managing Editor Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero. “The CHamoru lunar calendar connects us more deeply to our environment and helps us to understand how our ancestors lived and survived. For example, tenhos, which means stormy, is the season that begins between August and September, Guam’s rainy season, and fangguålo’, which means planting time, begins between October and November.”

The book launch will feature a special reading by the author, an art show of the paintings featured in the book, and arts and crafts activities.

The author will also be reading and signing books at the following:

  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at Bonita Baby in Hagåtña
  • 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, during the Saturday Story Program at Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library

“13 Months in Malesso’” will be available for sale at all of the events for $20 per book. After the launch, the book will be sold at the UOG Triton Bookstore, Bonita Baby, other local bookstores, and online at www.uog.edu/uogpress and Amazon.

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