Åntes di finañågu

Editor’s note: This entry was adapted and reprinted with permission from ”Cultural Traditions,” from the Hale’ Ta Series, Department of Chamorro Affairs, Government of Guam.

The pattera (nurse mid-wife) and suruhåna (traditional doctor) played important roles in the Chamorro society, especially when it came to pre-birth-to-birth events in the family. They assumed the roles of both doctors and midwives throughout the woman’s pregnancy, and made frequent visits to the home. At this time, they prepared special herbal remedies to make it easier for delivery, or treat ailments that may occur. Up to the time of birth, they were in control of the health of both mother and unborn child.

The members of the family, collectively, are responsible for providing nourishing food and making sure the expectant mother follows healthcare directives. The family would go to the extreme to preparing special foods which may include kåddon månnok fresko (fresh chicken soup), freskon chåda’ (fresh eggs), lechen guaka pat chiba (cow or goat milk), fruta yan gollai siha (fruits and vegetables), and fina’mames (sweets). A special refreshing drink is made from the juice of the choicest of lemons, which is sweetened with anibat tuba, or coconut syrup.