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28 November 2013

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Thanksgiving Day in the Philippines

Thanksgiving by merely offer a small prayer of thanks to the Lord and celebrate with a feast and without official date and month thats how Fililipino practice "Thanks Giving" or simply Pasasalamat (Photo from Wikipedia)
We observed the holidays during November like the All Saint’s Day (Nov.1) and All Soul’s Day (Nov. 2), and Bonifacio Day (Nov.30), but if you are working in an American company particularly in the BPO sector, for every fourth Thursday in November they observed and celebrated Happy Thanksgiving Day which some companies will declare a non-working Holiday since most of the people living in the United States celebrate annually the most important holiday ever since the first colonist from Europe landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts during the 17th Century.

 In the Philippines, American expatriates will make preparation in celebrating the most important holiday of the year and will flock to the groceries where Turkey the main feast is available in every cold storage and even recipes for Apple Pie, Pumpkin soup and other American dishes is also available.  Filipinos living in the United States also celebrate Thanksgiving Day and relatives from all over State will visit their family and friends and feast to the most important day of November.
Sculptures at Fort Bonifacio  Taguig b y Ferdinand R. Cacnio as form of “Pasasalamat” (Photo byAmado L. Castro, Jr.)
But there is one question in mind,  Do we Celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the Philippines and how?  Yes we do celebrate Happy Thanksgiving, but in a different setting.  Unlike in the United States, that has a certain date and month and declared a National holiday, in Filipino tradition we celebrate Thanksgiving by merely offer a small prayer of thanks to the Lord and celebrate with a feast and without official date and month.  If you are one of the elites in the society will celebrate with the Lechon Baka or Lechon de Leche as the main feast, but for simple celebration any feast that is acceptable as long we offer our thanks to our significant accomplishments.

We celebrate thanksgiving by means of having surpassed an ordeal and other important events such as: 

 1) Graduation not only in colleges, but also in High School elementary and even preparatory, since it is the most important occasion not only for the child who graduated and finish his or her studies, but for the parent’s hardship of sacrificing their lives no matter what manner of job they have to inflict to as long as their children finish their studies and move to a better future.

2)  Passing the Board or Bar Exams is another achievement to only few who succeeded in obtaining a license and will take a Hippocratic Oath (not Hypocrisy Oath to some professions) and will have the most grandiose celebration and will invite all the members of the barangay for this egoistical event, while others will just offer prayers and donate wheelchairs to the one who needed the most. 
Photo by Dave Donovan
3) Company Promotions sometimes is just more of a shallow approach of ‘I’m here you’re down there,” we do not know what manner or the cause of his or her promotion but sometime they feel like celebrating not through feast but through gimmicks and blowouts.  

4)  Success in business is particularly that the Boss or the Manager will treat his or her subordinates a small feast like ordering a pizza and if glamorous will call catering services and of course prayers were also included in the program.
OFW Homecoming (photo by Aileen Adalid)
5)  Homecoming is most important especially to the love ones who is working abroad. Or Manny Paquiao Homecoming and Meagan Young Homecoming  

6)  Having a new car was really something for the middle or working class Filipinos, because owing a brand new car is not a common trait to the Filipinos because of the socio-economic issues in the Philippines. Whether is a company issued and purchased by the hard-working individual, we tend to celebrate by presenting the new car to the priest to be blessed and go out and celebrating.

A native Filipino harvesting
 (photo by http://filipinolifeinpictures.wordpress.com)
7)  Harvest time, farmers in the rural Philippines whenever they made a bountiful harvest, most of the communities will share what they can offer in the table and the whole community will start celebrating with a prayer and bountiful feast.


If you notice that Filipinos no matter what type of event, they often start the celebration with a prayer of thanks, which is a genuine trait of every hard working Filipinos no matter what level of society he or she belongs to.  Even before the Spanish came, ancient Filipinos were not stranger for thanksgiving whenever they had a good harvest, winning a war, and of course the special day for the Datu of the tribe.

Thanksgiving will always be a part of our culture even before the Americans came and introduce a type of Thanksgiving in which Turkey and Apple Pie was introduced in islands during the American Colonial period.

Rommel Caguiat
Guest Writer
(Disclaimer: Images being used courtesy of Google. ) 

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