Thursday, November 26, 2009


by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

"When we begin our day with an attitude of gratefulness,it leaves little room for complaints and much room for grace to flourish"

Several friends greeted me on Facebook a Happy Thanksgiving Day and so I thanked them for the greetings but tell them that the Philippines does not celebrate Thanksgiving the same way they celebrate it in the U.S. or in Canada. For one, the fourth Thursday of November is not declared a holiday here!

I learned from Wikipedia that Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general.

In the same token though, Filipinos are very grateful people. They express thanks for the harvest and also express gratitude in general just for about anything. The only difference maybe with Americans is that the Thanksgiving celebration is not done on a national level. Well, former President Ferdinand Marcos had declared September 21 as the Philippines “national thanksgiving day”. But for some reasons the country has stopped observing September 21 as thanksgiving day. But in regional and personal levels, the Philippines continues to celebrate "thanksgiving days".

On a personal level, our family always have a thanksgiving celebration during graduation day, job promotions, board or bar examinations, school recognition day and birthdays of all family members.

On a regional level, each of the provinces has a kind of festival thanking God for the good harvest. Largely an agricultural economy, a third of country's 30 million hectares is used for agriculture -food crops, food grains like palay (unhusked rice), corn, coconuts, sugarcane, pineapples, bananas, mango and coffee and non food (pasture and cut flowers),and there is just always good harvest season to be thankful for and that calls for a merry making Thanksgiving celebration.

Over the years, I have attended Philippines ’thanksgiving day' celebrations. One of the example of such celebrations is the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon.

Pahiyas Festival
Pahiyas is an annual celebration every 15th of May, when people of Lucban, Quezon give thanks to San Isidro Labrador for a good harvest. Pahiyas means "decor". Thus, each houses in Lucban is decorated with brightly colored rice wafer, called kiping, a type of rice dough made from a traditional recipe. Other decorations includes local products such as fruits, grain, vegetables, and woven palm hats. Because I was assigned as an LDS missionary in Tayabas and Lucban, Quezon I usually go there during the Pahiyas.

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