Philippine Culture: Traditional Holidays are National Holidays

Business Cultural Notes

The Tagalog language basically borrowed from Spanish the days of the week and months of the year, as well as the numerical dates. Unlike Spanish, however, the days and months are spelled as proper nouns, with the first letter  capitalized. This was patterned after American convention wherein days and months are capitalized. Interestingly, when writing dates, the Tagalog/Filipino language follows the American convention where the month is written first, followed by the date, and then the year — thus, Enero 1, 2000 is the convention in formal written Tagalog/Filipino for January 1, 2000.

In the Philippines, there are a number of traditional holidays that are celebrated or commemorated. Philippine independence (Araw ng Kalayaan) is celebrated on June 12 of every year (and not July 4, the day Philippine independence from American rule in 1946 was formerly celebrated).  Christian Filipinos also observe the Christian lent or Holy Week (Mahal na Araw), while Muslim Filipinos observe the Ramadan. The biggest celebration of the year is Christmas (Pasko), which normally starts as soon as the -ber months (September to December) begin. It is said that the Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration that lasts until January 6 of the next year, which is called the Three Kings day. 

The important holidays and events in the Philippines are:

  • Bagong Taon – New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Araw ng mga Hari – Three Kings’ Day (January 6)
  • Araw ng mga Puso – Valentine’s day (February 14)
  • People Power Revolution (February 22-25)
  • Mahal na Araw – Holy Week/Lent (March or April)
  • Flores de Mayo – May Flowers Feast (May)
  • Araw ng Kalayaan – Independence Day (June 12)
  • Araw ng mga Patay – All Saints’/All Souls’ Day (November 1)
  • Araw ng mga Bayani – National Heroe’s Day (November 30)
  • Pasko – Christmas (December 25)
  • Araw ni Rizal – Jose Rizal’s Day (December 30)
  • Bagong Taon New Year’s eve  (December 31)

Apart from the above national holidays, there are other regional or local celebrations like town fiestas, Chinese new year, and local special holidays (e.g., Araw ng Maynila on June 24, Araw ng Lunsod Quezon on August 19).

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