On the peaceful night of November 24, 1899, the Philippines celebrated its first thanksgiving during the United States’ occupation.

The holiday was observed and celebrated continuously until the establishment of Philippine independence under its second President, Manuel L. Quezon. The country was soon taken over by the Japanese, putting an end to the celebrations. In May 1943, the Japanese also held a thanksgiving celebration in honor of the great Japanese Empire. Following the war, Filipinos continued to celebrate Thanksgiving, considering it a special public holiday from 1944 to 1965.

When President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, it was once again put to an end. During this time, holiday celebrations were prohibited. Even after the regime was overthrown, Filipinos no longer observed Thanksgiving.

Today, Thanksgiving is no longer a recognized holiday but some Filipinos continue to observe it in spirit. The mere thought of the holiday lives on in the hearts of Filipinos thanks to social media and the internet. Pop culture, as well as the majority of local businesses, have special programs and promotions centered on the theme.

Even if it is no longer a trend, perhaps it should make a return to the Philippines because given the current situation.  Despite the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, there is always a reason to be thankful. People nowadays are so busy that they sometimes forget to be grateful for the blessings we receive in our daily lives.

What about you? Do you think the Philippines should celebrate Thanksgiving again?

Samson, C. (November 26, 2019) Why Thanksgiving Used to Be a Major Holiday in the Philippines? https://nextshark.com/thanksgiving-holiday-philippines/

Lorenz Alday // Image from Philippine Presidential Museum and Library

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