Thank you 2022, Welcome 2023

Posted on: December 06, 2022

The year 2022 has ended, and we welcome the year 2023.  Christmas is a much-awaited holiday season for us Filipinos.  It is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.  Among the celebrations of the month of December is the Month of Overseas Filipinos.  It is a signed proclamation by then President Aquino that declared the month as the month of overseas Filipinos in giving recognition to Filipinos who contributed to our country.  Meanwhile, Rizal Day is a Philippine national holiday commemorating the life and works of José Rizal, a national hero of the Philippines.  It is celebrated every December 30, the anniversary of Rizal's 1896 execution at Bagumbayan in Manila.  Non the less is our featured event, New Year's Eve.  It is also known as Old Year's Day or Saint Sylvester's Day in many countries, which is the evening or the entire day of the last day of the year.  December 31 is commonly referred to as “New Year’s Eve”.

The Month of Overseas Filipinos is a proclamation that was signed in June of 1988 and in 2007, former President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo signed Administrative Order No. 202 creating the Inter-Agency Committee for the Celebration of the Month Overseas Filipinos with the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW, an umbrella organization of migrant civil society organizations) as Chair and the CFO as Co-Chair.  The proclamation is made to give recognition to overseas Filipinos who contributed to the restoration of Philippine democracy and Philippine development through their taxes and remittances. Leaving the place where one is born and calls home is not easy, especially being far from their loved one.

In the Philippines, where over 80% of the nation is Roman Catholic, many adhere to the Christmas tradition of Simbang Gabi, wherein people wake up at the break of dawn (around 3 to 5 a.m.) to attend mass.  These masses run every day from the 16th of December up until Christmas Eve.  The Philippines is said to celebrate Christmas for the longest duration in the world due to the country's history, religion, and proclivity to party.  Christmas has also served as a reunion for Filipino families.  A tradition called, Noche Buena, where the most delicious dishes are prepared.
Celebrated every 30th of December is Rizal Day, wherein the life and works of Dr. José Rizal, a national hero of the Philippines.  It is a national holiday and was first instituted by then President Emilio Aguinaldo issued on December 20, 1898, and celebrated on December 30, 1898, as a National Day of Mourning for Rizal in Malolos and all victims of the Spanish colonial rule of the Philippines.

On New Year’s Eve, Filipinos gather to celebrate the eve of the new year, say goodbye to the current year, and welcome the new year at dawn. Filipinos are known to celebrate New Year’s Eve by lighting fireworks, partying, and making loud noises to drive away evil spirits.  Children are also encouraged to jump at midnight in the belief that they will grow up to be strong and tall.  Much like Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve is also celebrated with feasts of foods and drinks which can last from morn to the day after. Palaro or games have also become the tradition with both adults and children participating in hopes of winning cash prizes or gifts with the many games prepared on the day.

For this coming December, let us all thank those who took care of us, accompanied us, and stayed beside us through good and bad times, especially those who continue to support us as we move forward in our lives. Happy December!

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