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Lesson Transcript

Betsey: Mabuhay! Hi everyone! I’m Betsey. Welcome back to FilipinoPod101.com.
Becky: And I’m Becky! This is All-About, Lesson 9 -Top 5 Most Important Dates on the Filipino Calendar.

Lesson focus

Betsey: Let’s get right to it!
Becky: Well first off, in at number 5 is Independence Day!
Betsey: In Filipino, it is ‘Araw ng ‘Kalayaan`. So, let’s talk a little about Filipino history here. The Philippines declared its independence from Spain on June 12th, 1898.
Becky: Of course, Spain didn’t like this, and didn’t recognize this.
Betsey: And then the country was passed on to the U.S. It was only after 50 years that the Philippines officially became independent from the U.S. This happened on July 4th, 1946.
Becky: But in 1962, the president changed it back to June 12th. And this day, of course, is a national holiday and of course Filipinos do what they do best, and celebrate this day with a feast.
Betsey: If you happen to be in the country on that day, you’ll find the flag of the Philippines everywhere, plus there are parades held that politicians and military personnel participate in, and we also have the president’s speech.
Becky: Sounds like a grand event! On to number 4 - what is that, Betsey?
Betsey: Number 4 is ‘Todos Los Santos’, also known as All Saint’s Day or Day of the Dead. This is celebrated on the 1st of November. This is a day where families visit deceased family members at cemeteries.
Becky: It can also be seen as a family reunion that extended family members also join.
Betsey: Yes, and they spend that time enjoying each other’s company while drinking, eating, playing games, and simply having a good time.
Becky: Since people are given days off work before and after All Saints Day, it’s also common for people to stay in tents close to their family members.
Betsey: That’s right. This is done to help deceased relatives participate in, or enjoy, the family reunion with them.
Becky: Ok, now, let’s see Number 3.
Betsey: Number three is Holy Week, also known as ‘Mahal na Araw’.
Becky: This is a Roman-Catholic tradition, which builds up to Easter Sunday.
Betsey: There is “Palm Sunday”, “Holy Wednesday”, “Maundy Thursday”, “Good Friday”, “Black Saturday”, and “Easter Sunday”. Filipinos attend church masses and there are different traditions or ceremonies held.
Becky: Notably, there’s Good Friday. On this day, people typically don’t eat meat.
Betsey: And in places likes Pampanga in the Northern part of Luzon, some people reenact the penance of Christ by nailing themselves on crosses. People from different parts of the country might also go to these places to participate. Then there’s also Easter Sunday, the last day of Holy Week.
Becky: Along with the Western tradition of egg hunting, families attend church masses, and end the week with a feast.
Betsey: It’s definitely an important week of the year. Alright. Becky, can you give us number 2?
Becky Number 2 is New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
Betsey: In Filipino, ‘Araw ng Bagong Taon’ and ‘Bisperas ng Bagong Taon’. Well, a typical New Year’s celebration Filipino-style would be Media Noche, a term which derives from Spanish, meaning literally midnight - it actually refers to the night before the New Year or New Year's Eve and involves fireworks, coins, jumping, polka dots, and noise - lots of noise! There`s a lot of stuff going on, so let’s take them one by one to explain them all to our listeners.
Becky: First off, what you can't miss among the most widely celebrated Filipino holidays is this feast, also known as
Betsey: ‘Media Noche’.
Becky Then they have fireworks, which are big in the Philippines.
Betsey: Yes, Filipinos do it big! Each home usually buys fireworks - a lot of them - and set them off themselves. It usually starts a couple of hours before midnight and continues on until after.
Becky: Which means no one travels around at this time, and the streets and roads are usually quiet at night, to avoid incidents relating to the fireworks.
Betsey: Yeah, that’s how many fireworks displays you’ll see! Another tradition is jumping as high as you can the moment the clock hits midnight, so you can grow taller during the year.
Becky: And polka dot clothing or accessories are worn during this time, to bring prosperity for the new year. Coins are also thrown in the streets.
Betsey: Toy horns known as ‘torotot’, pots, and pans are used to make as much noise as possible at midnight, in the belief that it’ll scare away evil spirits.
Becky: You can imagine how much noise and fun there is on New Year’s in the Philippines!
Betsey: That’s right. It’s a time when all cares are forgotten, and the year ahead is celebrated with anticipation and joy!
Becky: So, for Number 1, we have… you may have guessed it, it’s Christmas!
Betsey: Preparations and celebrations for this holiday can start three months before the actual day. You might hear Christmas carols, and see Christmas light shows.
Becky: Filipinos also put a lot of effort into decorating their houses and trees with Christmas lights and ornaments during this time!
Betsey: When you get to visit or stay in different parts of the country, you will see different decorations and lights. They really look nice!
Becky: And of course you can't miss this holiday without a grand feast as well.
Betsey: Dishes that you’ll always see at celebrations include ‘pancit’ and ‘lechon.’ Families start to eat at midnight and, may continue on until the early hours of the morning. Presents are usually opened during this time.
Becky: Though Santa Claus is familiar to Filipinos, he isn’t as involved in family traditions, so the presents are opened at midnight. So, those were the 5 most important dates in the Philippines.
Betsey: Filipinos really enjoy celebrating these holidays, and if you get a chance to visit the country during these festivities, you won't regret it!


Becky: See you next time, everyone!
Betsey: Paalam!


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Hey Listeners! Want to learn more about Holidays in the Philippines? Check out this Filipino Lesson:

All About #9 - Top 5 Most Important Dates on the Filipino Calendar