Guam - Culture
Despite copping a thorough belting from years of Spanish rule and American quasi-rule, Guam's Chamorro heart is still beating. A concerted effort has recently been made to revive the local dialect of this ancient civilisation, but only the island's most elderly residents speak Chamorro as a first language. While the Chamorro make up less than half the population, they're still dominant in the political and social life of the island. The overriding religion of Guam is Christianity, namely Roman Catholicism. Other denominations include Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Latter-Day Saints and Episcopalians. Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims can also be found in small numbers.
In a push to reassert its heritage, the Chamorro population is lobbying to return the pre-Spanish names to all of Guam's villages. The capital city has recently had its name changed from Agaña to Hagatña, and the rest of the villages may soon follow.
Fast-food aside, Guam's cuisine is a rich mix of Spanish, Filipino and Pacific dishes. Delicacies include whole roast pig, tropical fruits, yams, coconut crabs, red rice made with achiote seeds and just about anything barbecued. To turn dishes into a Chamorro meal, ask for finadene, a hot sauce packed with red peppers, soy sauce, lemon juice and onions.