Philippine Culture: February in the Philippines

February usually sees the celebration of the Chinese New Year. We have Chinoy friends and relations and so Filipinos also go Kung Hei Fat Choi. We also eagerly await the "tikoy" that our Chinese friends give. There's a lot of attention given to fortunes that can be expected in a given year (e.g. Year of the Rooster or Year of the Rat and so on)and there will be predictions given for a few days as the New Year starts.

Valentine's Day is also celebrated with much gusto. Running on its second year, we had the Lovapalooza on Roxas Boulevard where numerous kissing couples came together. The prices of flowers go skyrocketing, there are concerts left and right, and there's motel traffic in Pasig or Pasay. It is said that those who go out on February 14 itself are legitimate couples while February 13 or 15 would be reserved for second or third girlfriends or mistresses. Tsk. Tsk.

From February 22-25, we commemorate Edsa 1 - the peaceful revolution which allowed us to finally topple the Marcos regime. February 25 has been a holiday for years now though sometimes, we wonder (or I wonder) whether there is really any change worth celebrating today.

Kids born in the month of February (my cute Ali included) will have to contend with ribbings for the rest of their life. February, with only 28 or 29 days, has been associated here in the country (rightly or wrongly), with moody people or those who may not be easy to understand. When this happens, some people say: February kasi birthday niyan. (His or her birthday is in February). As the days in February are lacking compared to the other months, more meanly, people say sometimes that those born in February are "kulang kulang" or may be missing something up there. These, however, are all said in jest and generally well tolerated by those who are February-born.

As for the festivals for the month, there's the Feast of our Lady of Candles celebrated on February 2 in Iloilo. This festival honors the Nuestra Seņora de Candelaria and is marked by a procession of beautiful ladies and the blessing of numerous candles.

Till the next month: March in the Philippines

[By Angelica Viloria | Thursday, February 24, 2005]

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