August is among the most eventful months of the year in the Philippine calendar. Other than packed with national holidays, August also highlights many of the country’s unique traditions.
Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month) and History Month
The country celebrates National Language Month and History Month annually to strengthen national identity and love for the Filipino language. This year, the Commission on Filipino Language turns the spotlight to the 130 native dialects across the country to promote their role in nation-building.
In 2012, then president Benigno Aquino III proclaimed August as the History Month to reminisce historic events. Activities for this event are organized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Among their scheduled activities are the commemoration of the birth anniversary of former President Manuel L. Quezon, his Jewish Refugee Program, 36th death anniversary of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., and National Heroes Day.
Chinese traditions are deeply ingrained in Philippine culture. Among the predominant Chinese influence is Feng Shui or the ancient art of achieving harmony in life to live long and prosperous. Based on Feng Shui, August is perhaps the most inauspicious month in the Chinese calendar.
In Chinese folklore, the gates of hell open in August freeing hungry ghosts to roam the earth. To keep safe, the living appease these spirits by offering food, wearing amulets, and adhering to a list of dos and don’ts.
Special and Regular Holidays
Known as Eid al-Adha in Islam, the Feast of Sacrifice is a Muslim celebration of the faith of Ibrahim to Allah. Falling on August 12 this year, it’s one of the holiest events in the Islam faith. The Philippine government declared the date as a special non-working holiday to be one with Muslim Filipinos in celebrating this significant event.
Every August 21st is the Death Anniversary of EDSA Revolution icon, Senator Ninoy Aquino, Jr. Aquino was a staunch critic of the former president Ferdinand Marcos during the Martial Law period. It was in 1983 that the senator was assassinated at an airport tarmac upon his arrival from the US.
National Heroes Day
The Philippines’ National Heroes Day is similar to the US’ Memorial Day. August 26th is dedicated to pay tribute to known and unknown heroes both in the past and the present. The occasion also honors modern-day heroes like overseas Filipino workers, teachers, soldiers, and those who served and contributed to the society.
The Philippines observe a lot of holidays in a year. Though deemed unlucky, the Filipinos remain festive with the month-long cultural celebrations, holidays, and double pays.