2013 Philippines Holidays and Events

New Year’s Day
1 January 2013, Tuesday

Many days before this day, Filipinos will be cleaning out their house to welcome the New Year.  On this day however, they will refrain from doing anything besides celebrating.

Chinese New Year
10 February 2013, Sunday

Everyone will wear new and mostly red clothes to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Houses will be decorated with lanterns and flowers, and there will also be lion or dragon dance in areas with populous Chinese population.

People Power Day
25 February 2013, Monday

Celebrates the fall of the Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Maundy Thursday
28 March 2013, Thursday

This is the day before Good Friday and churches throughout the Philippines will have the Mass of the Last Supper.

Good Friday
29 March 2013, Friday

Filipinos will fast and abstain from eating meat on this day.  Churches throughout the country will reenact the Passion of Jesus up to the part where he was crucified.  In some parts of the Philippines, devout Catholics perform real crucifixions despite that the gruesome act is condemned by Catholic leaders in the country.

Day of Valor
9 April 2013, Tuesday

Also known as “Araw ng Kagitingan” commemorates the Filipinos who fought in World War II.  There will be parades in many cities in the Philippines and the Philippines president will give a speech at Mt. Samat shrine.

Labor Day
1 May 2013, Wednesday

This day celebrates worker and the first one was held in the Philippines on May 1, 1903.

Independence Day
12 June 2013, Wednesday

Commemorates Phillippines’ independence from the Spaniards on June 12, 1898.  General Emilio Aguinaldo staged the revolution against Spain and become the Phillippines’ first president.

Eidul Fitr
9 August 2013, Friday

Marks the end of Ramadan, the fasting month of the Islamic religion.

Ninoy Aquino Day
21 August, Wednesday

Commemorates the death of Senator Beningno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. who was assassinated by then President Ferdinand Marcos for trying to overthrow him.  His death helped push the revolt that led to the fall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

National Heroes’ Day
27 August 2013, Monday

Celebrates all the national heroes that have contributed to the Philippines’ freedom

Eidul Adha
25 October 2013, Tuesday

Commemorates  Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael due to the God’s command.

All Saints Day
1 November 2013, Friday

A day for remembering loved ones who have passed away.  Filipinos will come to cemeteries and visit graves of deceased relatives and tidy up the graves.

Bonifacio Day
30 November 2013, Saturday

Pays respect to another national hero, Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro, who also helped overthrow the Spanish rule in the Philippines.

Christmas Day
25 December 2013, Wednesday

Rizal Day
30 December 2013, Monday

Commemorates the execution of  one of the Phillipines national heroes, Jose Rizal, who was against the Spanish rule.

New Year’s Eve
31 December 2013, Tuesday

Special food will be prepared to celebrate this night like pancit, eggs, and sticky rice.  Filipinos will also use firecrackers to celebrate the New Year.



 

Chinese Mid-autumn festival 2012 in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou
30 September 2012, Sunday

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Cake Festival will occur  on Sunday, September 30th, 2012.  It’s probably the second largest holiday in China next to the annual Chinese New Year.  Mid-autumn festival is also a time of family reunion for most families in China.  Children from all over will come back to visit their parents at this time.  There are many legends on how this festival got its start.  One of the legends is that Hou yi, an experienced archer who lived in ancient China, was granted an immortal elixir as a reward for shooting down nine suns.  According to folklore there were ten suns in China at the time and each has a form of a three-legged bird.  Usually the birds would alternate and travel around the world one bird each day.  Unfortunately, one day all the sun birds gathered together causing extremely hot weather on Earth.  Hou yi was sent to shoot down nine birds.  Hou yi succeeded in shooting down nine birds and was given a potion by the Emperor of China at the time that can turn him to an immortal.  However, it was believed that after he got famous, many came to learn archery from him.  One of the students wanted to steal the elixir and Hou yi’s wife found out and since she couldn’t stop him, decided to drink the elixir herself.  Chang’e is Hou yi’s wife, and after drinking the potion she turned immortal and was flown to the moon.  So every year, people would offer foods to Chang’e on the day she got flown to the moon to pray for her safety and fortune.A  popular activity during this festival is eating mooncakes.  It’s a believed that in ancient China, a rebel group wanted to stage a rebellion against the Mongol rulers.  Mongol rulers were from the neighboring country Mongolia and they took China from the Chinese by force.  Large group meetings were prohibited at the time so one of the rebels, Liu Bowen, thought of notifying the people of the revolt by passing mooncakes to the Chinese.  He distributed mooncakes to the Chinese since only Chinese celebrate Moon Festival.  Inside each cake was a message telling the people that the rebellion will be on the night of the Moon Festival.  The uprising was successful and the tradition of eating mooncakes was upheld every year.

 

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in various cities in China

Beijing

There are three customs of the mid-autumn festival that Beijing residents observe:  worshiping and watching the moon, and watching flowers.  Near the Mid-Autumn Festival, families usually have a table in their house to worship the moon with such offerings like:  mooncakes, peaches, pomegranates, chestnuts, persimmons, and longans.  The placing of these fruits have meanings with chestnuts and persimmons representing prosperity, longans for unity, and peaches and pomegranates for family.  Families often gather together to watch the full moon together by looking up at the sky or looking at reflection of the moon in a body of water.  They also gather around to watch flower pots which have been strategically placed on each window sill in the house.  There are two places that will be ideal to participate in the festival:  the Summer Palace, and Shichahai.  At the Summer Palace osmanthus flowers will be in bloom to enjoy, and there are boats on the lakes for cruising and gazing at the moon.  Shichahai is an area with three lakes and on this festival there will be a lot of boat cruises available with entertainment, mooncakes, and tea provided.

 

Shanghai

Like residents of Beijing, the people of Shanghai also set up a table with offerings to worship the moon.  After this worshiping, family will gather around and have a large dinner while taking in the beautiful sight of the moon.  People living in Shanghai also have incense altars decorated with pictures of the Moon Palace and brightly colored banners and flags.  Taking a stroll under the moon is another activity that most people will participate in to enjoy the moon.

 

Hangzhou

One of the most scenic cities in China, Hangzhou has many places to take in the mid-autumn festival and enjoy the moon.  On West Lake, there is “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon” which is considered one of the best places to view the moon.  This scenery is so famous you can find it on the 1 yuan bill.  The Three Pools Mirroring the Moon refers to the three small pagodas standing in the water.  During the festival, candles will be put into the pagodas, and one will see the magical interplay of moonlight, candlelight, and reflections of both lights from the water.
Another part of West Lake that is ideal for watching the moon is Tranquil Lake and Autumnal Moon Park.  This lake is calm like a mirror ensuring perfect reflection of the moon without any disturbances.  The Autumnal Moon Park was a private garden of a rich man in ancient China and now it’s a scenic spot with a beautiful pavilion and and surrounded by Tranquil Lake on 3 sides.

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival 2012 in Hong Kong

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
30 September 2012, Sunday

Chang’e

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Cake Festival will occur  on Sunday, September 30th, 2012.  It’s probably the second largest holiday in China and Hong Kong next to the annual Chinese New Year.  There are many legends on how this festival got its start.  One of the legends is that Hou yi, an experienced archer who lived in ancient China, was granted an immortal elixir as a reward for shooting down nine suns.  According to folklore there were ten suns in China at the time and each has a form of a three-legged bird.  Usually the birds would alternate and travel around the world one bird each day.  Unfortunately, one day all the sun birds gathered together causing extremely hot weather on Earth.  Hou yi was sent to shoot down nine birds.  Hou yi succeeded in shooting down nine birds and was given a potion by the Emperor of China at the time that can turn him to an immortal.  However, it was believed that after he got famous, many came to learn archery from him.  One of the students wanted to steal the elixir and Hou yi’s wife found out and since she couldn’t stop him, decided to drink the elixir herself.  Chang’e is Hou yi’s wife, and after drinking the potion she turned immortal and was flown to the moon.  So every year, people would offer foods to Chang’e on the day she got flown to the moon to pray for her safety and fortune.

 

 Mooncake

Moon cake

A  popular activity during this festival is eating moon cakes.  It’s a believed that in ancient China, a rebel group wanted to stage a rebellion against the Mongol rulers.  Mongol rulers were from the neighboring country Mongolia and they took China from the Chinese by force.  Large group meetings were prohibited at the time so one of the rebels, Liu Bowen, thought of notifying the people of the revolt by passing moon cakes to the Chinese.  He distributed moon cakes to the Chinese since only Chinese celebrate Moon Festival.  Inside each cake was a message telling the people that the rebellion will be on the night of the Moon Festival.  The uprising was successful and the tradition of eating moon cakes was upheld every year.

Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong

Besides activity such as eating moon cakes people in Hong Kong also enjoy the annual Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance.  This dragon dance goes on for 3 days and occurs in the village of Tai Hang in Causeway Bay.  The body of dragon is about 68 meters long and is made up of over 70,000 incense sticks with about 300 performers.  This is a spectacular show with sounds of drums, sight of fire, and such vibrant energy.

Another popular tradition that is enjoyed by people of all ages is lighting up colorful lanterns.  Hong Kong will be bathe in lights illuminating from lanterns of all shapes and sizes hung throughout the city and mainly temples.  Victoria Park will have the Lee Kum Kee Lantern Wonderland.  These lantern displays are incredible for their magnitude and creativity and is a must see.  The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance will come perform at this park for one time so you can see two popular mid-autumn festival events in one visit.

 

Vesak Day 2013 in Singapore

Vesak Vibes in Chinatown, Singapore

Chinatown decorated for Vesak Day

Vesak Day or Wesak Day
24  May 2013, Friday

Vesak Day, also known as Wesak Day, or more commonly known as “Buddha’s birthday”, celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha.  This holiday is widely celebrated in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and many parts of Asia.  In Singapore, the holiday is started in the morning with Buddhists and devotees gathering at temples for a morning ceremony.  During this ceremony, a Buddhist flag will be raised  and monks will recite the sutras.  Followers will visit temples to pray and to give offerings of flowers, incense, and much more.  These offerings symbolize that life will end since flowers will wilt and incense will turn to dust.  Other rituals that will be observed are:  releasing caged birds, bathing a Buddha statue, candlelight processions, having vegetarian meals, and doing good deeds.  Acts of good deeds are known as “dana” and it’s believed that doing good deeds on this particular day brings more rewards.  Buddhists will come to visit the needy and give donations, and young Buddhists often organize blood drives at local hospitals.  The bathing of a Buddha statue is to commemorate his birth and some believed it’s also to remind followers to purify their minds from greed and hatred.   At night there will be solemn candlelight processions through the streets.  Some of the popular temples to celebrate this holiday are:  Thai Buddhist Temple at Jalan Bukit Merah,  Buddhist Lodge at River Valley Road, Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple at Jalan Toa Payohand, and The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown.

Bathing of Baby Buddha

Bathing of Baby Buddha on Vesak Day

 

There are many different sectors of Buddhism in Singapore and each celebrates Vesak in unique ways.  The largest sector is the Mahayana which is made up of Chinese Singaporeans.  Temples for this sector will perform the two-hour “three-step, one-bow” ritual.  Buddhists will be on their knees as they step up and will bow at every third step as a way to ask for peace, blessings, and forgiveness.  Another sector is the Theravada which has mostly Sri Lankan Singaporeans and Burmese Singaporeans and they will have the ritual of cooking rice in milk.  This ceremony is to remember Buddha’s last meal before his enlightenment fast.  You can see this practice at Sri Lankaramaya Temple at St Michael’s Road or  Burmese Buddhist Temple at Geylang.

 

 

2013 Singapore Holidays & Events

The following is a list of 2013 Singapore Holidays & Events!

January
1

► New Year Day 1 January 2013, TuesdayTwo popular New Year’s Eve countdowns will be ‘The Marina Bay Singapore Countdown’ and Siloso Beach Party’ at Sentosa.  There will be live performances and fireworks to ring in the new year.  Clarke Quay and Orchard Road will also be crowded with party-goers.

 

February
10

Chinese New Year 10 February 2013, Sunday – 11, February 2013,  MondayChinatown will come alive during this holiday with decorations, streets lit with lanterns, night-markets, and shopping malls filled with people shopping for the new year.  There will be lion dances at Chinatown, Clarke Quay, and Boat Quay.

 

Read more »

Good Friday & Easter 2013 in the Philippines

Good Friday & Easter 2013 in the Philippines - Good Friday for 2013 will be on Friday, March 29 and Easter will be on Sunday. March 31.  Good Friday is a day Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Christ who died for mankind’s sins.  Easter Sunday is a celebration of his resurrection. Catholicism is the predominant religion in the Philippines – with over 80% of the population being Catholic, Good Friday and Easter are widely observed.  In the Philippines, Good Friday is called ‘Biyernes Santo‘.  The Sunday before Easter Sunday is called Palm Sunday. Filipinos go to mass and get their palm leaves or ‘palaspas’ blessed.  The blessed palm leaves will be hung over windows or doors to keep out evil spirits and to also welcome Jesus Christ.  Filipinos will fast on Good Friday by having only one full meal and abstain from eating meat.   Many Filipinos will go to church to attend the three-hour mediation that reflects the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ while he was on the cross during the crucifixion.  Churches throughout the country will reenact the Passion of Jesus up to the part where he was crucified.  In some parts of the Philippines, devout Catholics perform real crucifixions despite that the gruesome act is condemned by Catholic leaders in the country.  Some unique traditions that one will see when visiting the Philippines during this holiday are:  Fourteen Stations of the Cross, Pasyon, Mahal na Senyo, and Senakulo. Read more »

Eid ul Fitr 2012

Eid ul Fitr 2012
19 August 2012, Sunday

Eid ul Fitr will be celebrated on Sunday, August 19, 2012.  Eid ul Fitr or commonly known as Eid is a three-day holiday in the Islamic religion that celebrates the end of Ramadan.  Ramadan is the month of fasting and during this month worshipers fast from sunrise to sunset everyday.  Eid was first celebrated in 624 CE by the Prophet Muhammad after the winning the battle of Jang-e-Badar.  During Eid, Muslims wear nice clothes and decorate their homes with lights and etc.  Eid is also a time for people to be more aware of their sins and make amends. Read more »

Tuen Ng Festival / Dragon Boat Festival / Dumpling Festival 2013

 

Tuen Ng Festival / Dragon Boat Festival / Dumpling Festival
12 June 2013, Wednesday

Dragon Boat Festival, also called Tuen Ng Festival or Dumpling Festival, commemorates the death of the poet Qu Yuan who drowned himself about 2,000 years ago as an act of protest against the corrupt government.  According to legend, after Qu Yuan committed suicide, villagers got on their boats, beat drums, and threw rice dumplings into the river to scare fish away so they won’t eat Qu Yuan’s body.  Nowadays, people will eat dumplings and go swim or dip their hands in the river during this festival to pay respect to Qu Yuan. The main attraction of this festival are dragon boat races all over Hong Kong.  Dragon boats are around 11.6 m long with carved dragon heads and tails and its crew has 22 paddlers. Read more »

Christmas in South Korea 2012

 Christmas Day 기독탄신일
25 December 2012, Tuesday (Public Day Off)

Christmas in South Korea - Holiday ChaserChristmas is a religious and cultural holiday celebrated annually on December 25th, marking the birth of Jesus Christ according to Christianity. Like so many other nations around the world, South Korea also celebrates Christmas. Along with Buddhism, Christianity is one of the major religions practiced in Korea, in which over 30% of South Koreans are Christian. Though its official name by law is Gidoktansinil, many Christian Koreans refer to it as Seongtanjeol (성탄절).

Read more »

2012 Hangul Day

2012 Hangul Day 한글날
9 October 2012, Tuesday (Working Day)

Hangul Day commemorates the invention and proclamation of the Korean written language, Hangul.

According to history, in 1443, King Sejong “the Great” (4th king of the Joseon Dynasty) and his institute of scholars, the Hall of Worthies, are credited for creating Hangul. It took them 30 years of research and design to devise a writing system specifically for the Korean language. It has been noted that Sejong explained the new written language was a better fit for the Korean language for it’s simplicity and versatility, that even an ill-educated commoner could read and write Korean. Originally named “Gagyageul” (가갸글), it wasn’t until 1913 that the Korean alphabet was named “Hangul”.

In 1928, the Hangul Society celebrated the 480th anniversary of the declaration of Hangul, and it’s been celebrated as a holiday ever since. Though there’s been changes in when Hangul day is celebrated over the course of the century, it wasn’t until the South Korean government was established in 1945 that it was declared a legal holiday to be on October 9th. In 1991, Hangul day changed from being a legal holiday, meaning government employees no longer get the day off.