Have you ever noticed how we name things after landmarks?
Where I live there are mountains all around.
There are tons of businesses, parks, traditions, cemeteries…named after these mountains.
Does that happen where you live also?
In the Philippines, it’s Rizal.
Julia (my OFS) writes:
Every December 30th, we celebrate our national hero, Dr. Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. We celebrate it on December 30th to commemorate his death when he was executed by firing squad in 1896.
The holiday is just before New Year’s Eve, so many Filipinos start their holiday celebrations on this day. Because Rizal was such an important figure in Philippine history, there are activities around the country that we participate in as part of our holiday celebrations.
One tradition is laying down flowers and wreaths to shrines set for Rizal. Going on a picnic in Rizal Park (almost every town has a Rizal Park) is also a popular pastime. For those of us who prefer to spend our holidays at home, we’d watch movies, documentaries, and government programs about Rizal.
We’re all required to study his life in school. But even if you find history boring, studying Rizal’s life is fun because it was fascinating. He was a polymath. He lived the bohemian lifestyle, so he had a lot of lovers and enemies. He traveled to so many countries and wrote a lot of books, essays, and poetry.
How amazing was Rizal? On the night before his execution, he wrote Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell). The poetry moved former US Congressman Henery A. Cooper so much he read it in Congress in 1902 to lobby for Philippine independence. Indonesian soldiers would recite it before going to battle when they struggled for freedom in the 1940s.
I tried to memorize it in college because the original text (in Spanish) was so beautiful. I never made it past the 1st stanza. There are 14 stanzas. At least I didn’t attempt to memorize the Filipino translation. That one is 28 stanzas long.
The point is…December 30 is a regular holiday in the Philippines. Everyone is going to take the day off. December 31 is also a regular holiday, as is January 1.
Don’t expect anything to get