There is no Thanksgiving Day in the list of holidays in the Philippines.  This holiday was proclaimed by Governor John Winthrop and, the day of celebration, authorized by President Abraham Lincoln of the United States of America.  Since then on, the 4th Thursday of November is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.

Looking closely to the purpose of this day, the Philippines may have a Thanksgiving Day of sorts.  It is, however, under a different name and entail multiple celebrations due to the countries culture and structure.

Overview of the Philippines

The Republic of the Philippines, the 73rd largest country in the world, is an archipelago consisting of 7,107 islands.  The country is further divided into 3 large groups – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  It has a population of more than 98 million and is known to be the 7th most populated country in Asia.  In the world, the Philippines is the 12th most populated country.

The national language in the Philippines is Filipino.  But due to the country’s structure, it also has 8 recognized regional dialects.  The Philippine culture is a complex merger of the eastern and western cultures.  This can be clearly seen in the country’s history.  As proof, the medium of instruction in the Philippines is English, not Filipino.  History also shows how the Filipinos evolved to become the modern day Filipino.

Thanksgiving Day in the Philippines

Respect is a basic value passed on from generation to generation in any Filipino home.  This is immortalized by the Filipino word, “po,” which simply implies respect.  Its alternative word is “ho.”  Respect is also shown through the kissing of the hand of an elder or pressing the hand of an elder to one’s forehead.  The latter is called, “mano.”

Even the tradition of family reunions is based on respect.  Reunions happen during birthdays, observance of holidays and fiestas in the Philippines.  It is a time of sharing and thanksgiving for continued blessings received.  This is the essence of Thanksgiving Day.

How is Thanksgiving Day celebrated in the Philippines

The American Thanksgiving Day celebration is almost the same with Reunions in the Philippines.  Family members from far and wide, including close friends and guests, gather together in a house to share a meal together and give or exchange gifts.  A prayer of thanksgiving is always said before the meal.  In some cases, a Catholic Mass is attended by the family before the festivity.

There are only 2 differences:

Instead of the traditional turkey, Filipinos have roasted pig called “Letchon.”

Thanksgiving Day in the Philippines has no specified date and may be celebrated many times each year.

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