Philippine Independence Day used to be celebrated on 4th of July
We all know that the reason fireworks light up the sky every 4th of July is to celebrate the independence of America. Without that significant event, we probably live a different life right now, or we might not even be living here at all. However, as Filipinos, did you know that this day also holds another valuable meaning to us?
In the Philippines, we celebrate our independence every the 12th of June. Unbeknownst to a lot of our fellow Filipinos, even those who are born and raised in our motherland, the Philippine Independence Day used to be celebrated on 4th of July as well.
An article from The Atlantic stated just how much Americans celebrated their independence even way back hundreds of years. When the Americans finally won over the Filipinos on April 1902, they made it a point to wait for the 4th of July of the same year before declaring their victory. Afterward, they allowed Filipinos to work hand-in-hand with the Americans as they formed a semi-democratic government led by an American Governor-General.
If you look at it closely, celebrating independence by colonializing another country doesn’t seem right; and many Americans at the time also agree. So the time came that President Theodore Roosevelt agreed with the public opinion. Unfortunately, our independence isn’t that easy to claim. It took over 20 years of political arguments between both countries before President Franklin Roosevelt finally signed our autonomy to be granted only on the 4th of July, 1945, ten years from then.
Sadly, dark days are ahead. The Japanese army arrived, and all the monstrosities under their reign happened only within a year. Good thing that at the 4th of July, 1946, after all the things that occurred, we finally get to taste independence.
After 15 years of sharing our Independence Day with America, President Diosdado Macapagal changed the official date to the 12th of June. He, along with many other Filipinos, thought that celebrating our independence on a time when we were also colonized brings back unpleasant memories instead of becoming an inspiration.
So why the 12th of June, you may ask? It was the 12th of June, 1898 when we first declared independence from colonizers, after centuries of control by the Spaniards.
Today, we know the 4th of July in the Philippines as Philippine-American Friendship Day. However, as Filipinos in America, it’s also a perfect time to have fun with our family and friends during a long weekend.
What are your plans? If you don’t have any, you might want to check out our online Filipino grocery wherein you can find ingredients for the perfect dish to bring on a potluck party! Check our website at FilStop.