Yesterday I was invited by one of my very close friends, to a Christmas tree burning. This had become a tradition on the island for approximately 30 years now where families bring their dead & dry Christmas trees and pile them up on the beach and have a bonfire while the moon is out. My friend Iosefo’s family has been apart of this tradition for the past 9 years and his Samoan family contributes by helping out with their family’s traditional food.
The one thing I noticed was the lack of Chamorros (locals of Guam) on the beach. They were mainly Americans. The food was very different than what is expected at a local Chamorro party. It was overall different, but a good different.
Walking into the pitch darkness of the beach which could’ve also felt like walking into a jungle of a horror scene, you walk into a crowd of people all gathered at a safe distance around the pile of trees of the past holiday season, anticipating the event. Glow sticks and bongos and Christmas lights. It was like a small-kine festival. It was really cool. The beach was very breezy, which made me semi-regret wearing a dress. The company was awesome as a few of my other friends came as well as Sefo’s family.
I’m told that each year there is a scenario that is played out to start the fire. They just find some creative way to light the trees instead of just simply lighting it. Sefo’s girlfriend, Robin, was telling me of their innovative ideas a couple years ago, one with a catapult, the other with a wrecking ball with a dummy attached to it, which was supposed to Miley Cyrus. (I wish I was there for that one) This year they decided to go all James Franco/Kim Jong-un from The Interview and blast the trees with a tank which was probably made from a lawn mower. They actually had several attempts to “blast” the trees because they kept missing, by the fourth one they finally just decided to blast it up close.
It was really fun and it was a new experience. The energy of the crowd as amazing and there were just good vibes all around. I’m anticipating an invite to the tree burning for next year, and a few years from then🔥