Friday, December 2, 2022
Christmas in the Marianas is one of the Marianas Visitors Authority's (MVA) most popular annual signature events, second only to the Taste of the Marianas during Tourism Month in May. It's also a great way for our community to share our cultural Christmas traditions.
Honoring our traditions is important. The oldest Christmas tradition in my family is welcoming the niño, or Baby Jesus, into our home. This holiday tradition has always been a significant part of our culture, and it serves as a reminder of what Christmas is all about. Even during the pandemic, my immediate family continued the niño tradition together, as my cousins and I took the Baby Jesus around to our family members and sang Christmas carols. It is a meaningful way to share our traditions– especially, with the younger members of our family.
With the lifting of most COVID-19 social restrictions and the resumption of international flights from both Korea and Japan this year, we strongly feel it is the right time to bring back Christmas in The Marianas in all its glory. We received many questions about when or if the annual Christmas in the Marianas event would happen this year, and after careful consideration, we are excited to bring it back for our residents and visitors, who also look forward to celebrating Christmas and New Year’s even while on vacation.
When we reached out to our community, we received an enthusiastic response from the schools, who are integral to the event’s success, as well as our annual partners– Paseo De Marianas Promoters, Pacific Development Inc., and Chamolinian Cultural Village Inc. Everyone in The Marianas is anticipating the return of this event, which kicks off this Saturday, December 03, at 5:00 p.m.
To help everyone fully enjoy the festivities, we will be hosting this year’s event at Garapan Fishing Base due to the construction happening at Paseo de Marianas, where we usually host it. We’ve added new light sculptures and a mini Christmas Village that will help to fill the large exhibit space at Garapan Fishing Base. We want to create a beautiful, walk-through experience that will attract our community and visitors to make wonderful holiday memories.
It will be a photo-worthy environment for taking and sharing photos, too. We encourage everyone to use the hashtags #VisitTheMarianas and #TheMarianas in their social media posts so that the world can experience our island Christmas. We have a special entertainment feature that you won't want to miss this on opening night this Saturday, December 3rd at 8 p.m.- the Reggae Island Party sneak peek.
We are continuing annual activities such as Christmas caroling and performances, food and drink sales, Christmas displays, and more this year. We also have a special contest, the Mini Christmas Village contest, where we will display the artistic works of six high schools and three community members for all to see. Roadside sculptures along Beach Rd. will also be illuminated throughout the holiday season.
The celebrations will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on December 3, 10, and 17, 2022, and January 7, 2023. On December 17, at 6 p.m. after sunset, an illuminated Christmas parade will be held from American Memorial Park to Garapan Fishing Base. There will also be a Christmas costume contest and the Japanese Mochitsuki Festival on that night.
As the saying goes, tourism is everyone’s business, and thanks to our sponsors and supporters, we can bring the holidays to life. Thank you to Lollipops, Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan, Aqua Resort Club Saipan, Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods, Century Hotel, iShop, DFS T Galleria, MARPAC, E-Land Group, DOCOMO Pacific, Hawaiian Rock Products, and Dave's Electronics for their valuable support.
I’d also like to thank our government partners for their support of this event: the Department of Public Lands, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the Office of Indigenous Affairs, the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, the Department of Public Works, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, the Saipan Zoning Office, the Office of Grants Management, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and the Division of Parks and Recreation.
Together, We Can spread holiday cheer and light up the Marianas for all to enjoy. On behalf of the Marianas Visitors Authority, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
For more information, visit the GCEA at cnmieconomy.com, on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at email@example.com.
By Judy C. Torres
Judy C. Torres is Acting Managing Director of the Marianas Visitors Authority and has over 30 years experience in the travel and tourism industry. The GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in The Marianas for all residents.