There is exactly a week or seven days in between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The holiday season is probably the busiest time of the year that it feels like the whole year, starting from January 1st, is just a huge clock counting down ‘til the next holiday dates. Christmas Day and New Year’s day are the most celebrated events of the year. But in the seven days that separates these holidays is a day of commemoration that is often overlooked. In the Philippines, every 30th of December, Filipinos annually observe the anniversary of death of the Filipino National Hero, José Rizal. Rizal Day 2021 marks the 125th year of celebration of Jose Rizal’s legacy during the spanish colonial rule.
Heroes who’ve been instrumental in the fight for the country’s independence such as Andres Bonifacio who’s being commemorated every 30th of November, and Jose Rizal were given their own holidays, usually on the day of their death anniversary. It’s been a tradition in the country to pay respect to these people and events as a way of remembering that there was a point in time that the Philippines was held captive by other countries and these people and these events gave the Philippines it’s freedom. The National Heroes’ Day is annually held in the month of August, in it 30th day, Araw ng Kagitingan every April 9th of the year, and the Philippine Independence Day, which is observed annually on the 12th day of June.
Read also: List of 2022 Holidays
How Rizal Day is celebrated
The national holiday celebration of Rizal Day in the Philippines had been a continuous tradition by a lot of Filipinos. The date, December 30, was established as it’s official date of remembrance, the day were Jose Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan, which is now known as the famous Rizal Park. The commemorative holiday was first celebrated in the year of 1898, few years after Rizal’s execution in 1986. During this day, some people around the world, not only in the Philippines, celebrates and remembers the interesting life of the Filipino patriot Jose P. Rizal. During Rizal Day, an official ceremony is usually held in Rizal’s shrine in Luneta, Manila. While the ceremony is being performed, all Philippine flags are adjusted at half-mast and the President of the Philippines, or sometimes the Vice President, take part on the wreath laying ceremony on the iconic shrine of Rizal. Most television networks in the country presents specials and documentaries centered around Jose Rizal’s life as a way of remembering one of the most celebrated people in the Philippines. If you’ve ever been a student, you probably remember being given an essay homework by your history teacher about the life and works of Rizal, which you should turn in at the resume of class after the holiday season.
For the celebration of Rizal Day last year, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gave a message for the Filipinos via the official social media accounts of Malacanang. Other institutions also took part in the celebration such as the National Museum of the Philippines who presented a well curated exhibit that features Jose Rizal. Rizal Day was also celebrated in other parts of the country as a public holiday like in the city of Balanga, which was led by the city mayor, Francis Anthony S. Garcia, and it was themed: “Jose Rizal: Inspirasyon sa Pagbangon at Paghilom ng Bayan.” Other countries also celebrated Rizal Day in 2020, such as in Philippine Embassy in Rome that held a simple ceremony of offering flowers to the bust of the hero.
It is a fact that Rizal is a well-celebrated icon in the Philippines and in most parts of the world, but one would ask why is this the case. What makes Rizal’ life and works interesting enough to be remembered and celebrated by a lot of people? Surprisingly, a lot of Filipinos still see Jose Rizal as someone who is in the one-peso coin. Here are facts about the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, that you should know.
Rizal’s many professions
José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda or commonly known as Jose Rizal is a jack of all trades. Jose Rizal is widely known as the author of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, two iconic books that were essential in the war for the Philippine indepence. Other than being an author, Jose Rizal also had a lot of professions that it might require ten pages if he would make his own résumé. Jose Rizal was also a poet, this one is also a common knowledge since some of his poems are also popular such as “Mi Ultino Adios” and “To The Philippine Youth” that is always present during school declamation contests. Jose Rizal was also a polymath, his wide knowledge helped him become a teacher at many fields. Jose Rizal was also a doctor that’s why you often see him being addressed as Dr. Jose P. Rizal. He was an ophthalmologist and was driven by his goal to treat his mother’s blindness. Rizal was also a scientist, a journalist, and a steward of visual arts.
With all of this, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that Jose Rizal was also a polyglot. He mastered and was fluent in more than twenty languages. He might be smaller than an average Filipino but his wits was his true greatest weapon and only a few could compare.
Rizal is everywhere
Jose Rizal’s image is not only limited to his shrine in Luneta, in fact he has shrines, parks, and monuments scattered around the world. In the Philippines he has over a hundred statues, monuments, and busts and it seems like every city has a monument for the national hero. In other countries, especially countries that he have visited and lived on such as Japan and Spain, also have monuments inaugurated in honor of Jose Rizal. If you’re looking in your area for a Rizal monument then look no further, he is probably inside your pocket! Jose Rizal’s bust is embossed in the Philippine one peso coin. It is believed that every Filipino, whatever class, age, gender, and belief, will come across a one peso coin, and thus being indirectly introduced to Jose Rizal.
His name is so popular that a province in the Philippines was also named after him. The Rizal Province which is composed of cities and towns like Antipolo, Morong, Teresa, Tanay and more is such a wonderful place to start to start living in. It is not too far from Manila and still has that rural tranquility that a lot of people are looking for. If you’re planning on living in Rizal, Bria Homes is here to help you reach your dream. Bria Homes offers affordable house and lot in Rizal that could easily be yours.
Rizal and the species named after him
Being exiled in Dapitan, Rizal didn’t let his time go to waste. Astoundingly, Rizal helped collect three species of animals that are eventually named after him. These species are: a type of small beetle that is called “Heller” (Apogonia Rizali), a type of dragonfly named “Wandolleck” (Draco Rizali), and a toad type of specie called “Boetger” (Rachophorus Rizali). This is testament that Rizal is really everywhere, from monuments and plances, even up to species of animals.
These are just a few of thousands more facts about the interesting and controversial life of Rizal. His life, although cut short at such a young age, was fulfilling and filled with stories that people still talk about even up to this day.
Rizal Day 2021 is the 125th anniversary of death of the one and only Rizal, let us remember what he fought for and what he died for. Even after his death, his impact to the Philippines and the world is still greatly felt. Besides being an agent of medicine, education, and literature, Rizal and his entire life and ultimate death is revolutionary and beneficial in attaining the independence of the Philippines.
Written by Rashid Mansan