Philippine Independence Day: June 9 or 12?

Here in the Philippines, we have a three-day weekend to celebrate Independence Day on June 12. But wait a minute, isn’t June 12 on Thursday, and not on a Monday? Let’s think first about the great American three-day weekend.

The three-day weekend is one of the most important part of American culture since 1971. Three-day holidays began in 1968 with the passing of the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specific Monday to create a three-day weekend. The three holidays are Washington’s Birthday (February 22 to 3rd Monday in Feb- ruary), Veterans Day (moved back to November 11 in 1978), and Memorial Day (May 30 to last Monday in May).

Since the 1980s, most holidays have become commercialized, usually known more for their three-day sale events. Washington’s Birthday became more commonly known, unofficially, as Presidents’ Day to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (February 12). Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, January 15, is officially observed on the third Monday in January. But four holidays have fixed sacred dates and have not been moved to Mondays. These are New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

The Philippines, meanwhile, being the great copycat, has adopted the American three-day weekend. But in doing so, even its Independence Day observance was moved to the Monday closest to the traditional June 12.

Now, can you imagine celebrating the 4th of July on July 7, or New Year’s Day on January 7, or Christmas Day on December 29?

About Nollie

Associate Pastor of Trinity United Reformed Church in Walnut Creek, CA. Assigned as missionary to the Philippines. Lives just outside Metro Manila with wife and daughter. Three older boys live and work in CA.