Philippines: Happy Rizal Day Twitter Trend Draws Criticism

#Happy Rizal Day became a trending topic on Twitter on December 30, 2011, a holiday commemorating the death anniversary of the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. While this could be taken positively that many still remember Rizal, some have criticized the use of the saying “Happy Rizal Day” to commemorate the day of his death.

Inday Kayla laments how some Filipino social media users have mistaken Rizal Day as the national hero's birthday. She posts a portion of her Twitter timeline to underscore her frustration:

The worst, those were just a few. Seeing their tweets makes me faint, it breaks my heart. I’m pretty sure, your AP/PH teacher feels the same thing, too. And Rizal feels a lot more pain than we do. Truth be told, many Filipinos have disregarded the true meaning of this day, the martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. 

In Between Columns finds it ironic that Filipinos would greet each other “Happy Rizal Day” on the day he was shot to death by the Spanish colonizers:

To me, saying “#Happy Rizal Day” only means the present Twitter generation vaguely remembers Rizal as a Philippine hero. They don’t anymore recall that December 30, 1896 was the day the Guardia Civil shot him to death…

It seems Filipino during the time of Twitter and other forms of social media are more content with mere exchanges of “Happy Rizal Day” to commemorate our country’s historic turning points.

El Lobo Filipino also shares the same sentiment:

Several of these “greeters” told me that they are celebrating his heroism and what he’s done for the country. I told them that if that’s the case, then the greetings would have been more appropriate on Rizal’s birth date – June 19. And this year, the country did celebrate the hero’s 150th birthday.

Daniel de la Rosa meanwhile calls for the shifting of Rizal Day from December 30 to the national hero’s birthday on June 19:

Well, one could argue December 30 is the day of his martyrdom, which inspired the revolution to greater fervor and was a fitting climax to his life. I would think June 19 would serve that too and affirm the greatness of a Filipino who rose to such heights. On a practical note, June 19 is the start of the school year in the Philippines, and you can weave all sorts of classroom projects around Rizal’s life.

1 comment

  • I’m glad to know that several others share the same opinion about that Twitter trend. Sad to say that while Rizal is everywhere in the Philippines (his monument is in every plaza and public school campus, Rizal is a required subject in college, and his photo is even printed in a popular matchbox), only a few really knows the significance of his life and martyrdom.

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