Etymology of Mabuhay

Sheena emailed, asking about the origin of Mabuhay, a standard greeting of Filipinos.

Mabuhay comes from BUHAY (which means LIFE). Mabuhay translates to the command: "Live!" It is a wish for you to live a long and fulfilling life.

Sometimes, you will hear people say "Mabuhay ka!" which means "May you live long!" because the person greeted has done some good deed, and the greeter wants that person to live long so that he/she can continue performing good deeds.

Other times, we say "Mabuhay tayong lahat!" ("Let us all live long!") when the speaker, together with the community being greeted, achieved something worthwhile.

So MABUHAY is used to wish someone good health and a long life, or to rally a group to which one belongs. It is like a 'hello' that extends beyond the present. It is a greeting that carries everyone towards the future. It is a message of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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Angel's Ma-bu-hey article
[ First posted on 10/03/2003 by Manuel Viloria ]

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