Santa Marian Kamalen Day is a public holiday in Guam on 8 December. It is a day on which Roman Catholics seek to honour the Virgin Mary and her wood and ivory image called Our Lady of Camarin or Dulce Nombre, which means “Sweet Name”.
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Our Lady of Camarin is the official Patron Saint of Guam, which is why this feast day is on the national holiday calendar.
The eighth of December is also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Catholics around the world remember the doctrine of Mary’s sinless birth. And on 8 December of 1941, the image Dulce Nombre escaped destruction during a Japanese bombing of the island of Guam.
Today, the image is housed in a basilica named “The Most Sweet Name of Mary”. However, a replica is kept at the main basilica and the real image at the minor basilica. The reason seems to be that the image was stolen three times: in 1968, 1971, and 1992. Church officials don’t want to risk a repeat, even though all three times the image was returned by the thief “out of a sense of piety”.
On Santa Marian Kamalen Day, many attend special masses to remember the Virgin Mary. Many believe Lady of Camarin protected Guam during the oppressive years of the Japanese occupation of World War II. They also pray to Dulce Nombre to protect them from hurricanes, earthquakes, war, and various natural disasters.