Celebrating Rizal Day 2022

On December 30, the Philippines observes Rizal Day as an official holiday in honor of Jose Rizal, a nationalist who passed away in 1896. The entire country of the Philippines commemorates Rizal Day on the anniversary of the passing of Jose Rizal, a great national hero.

December 30 marks Rizal Day, a national holiday in the Philippines. It is controversial because Filipinos celebrate Rizal Day on December 30 each year rather than his actual birthday, which is June 19, 1861, as it commemorates his passing.



A National Hero of the Philippines, Dr. José Rizal is regarded as being a significant figure in igniting the uprising against the Spanish colonizers.

Doctor and author Rizal was born on June 16th, 1861, in the village of Calamba. He criticized the Spanish friars’ corrupt control of the Philippines in his book Noli me Tangere (Touch me not), which he wrote while living in Europe. Many historians concur that the concepts he explored in that book and its sequel, “El filibusterismo” (Reign of Greed), had a significant impact on the escalating unrest against Spanish power and served as an inspiration for the revolution.

Rizal was detained and put on trial for treason despite the fact that he played no active part in the fighting and had no direct involvement in the nationalist uprising. On December 30, 1896, at 7 a.m., Rizal was put to death by firing squad at Bagumbayan Field in Manila, which is today known as Rizal Park.

The first Rizal Day was observed in 1898 as a national day of mourning for Rizal in Malolos and all victims of Spanish colonial tyranny in the Philippines by Emilio Aguinaldo, the country’s first president.

Act was passed by the Philippine Commission on February 1st, 1902. Rizal Day was formally proclaimed on December 30 by Resolution No. 345.


Celebrations and Customs around Rizal Day

The Philippines observe Rizal Day as a national holiday. The majority of individuals will therefore not have to work that day and will instead be paid double their regular salaries. Additionally, many schools’ Christmas breaks conclude on this day, so students and instructors are free to take part in the observations.

In Rizal Park, the park where Rizal was fatally shot, the biggest celebration of Rizal Day takes place. These festivities, which include a 21-gun salute and the laying of a wreath at the Rizal Monument, are conducted by the president and vice president of the Philippines. The Philippine Air Force is flying overhead as the flag is hoisted as well. 

The President might deliver a speech reviewing the year’s events and highlighting future initiatives. Throughout the Philippines, Rizal Day is also celebrated on a smaller scale in each province, led by government officials.

On this day, flags must be flown at half-staff and specific activities are forbidden. Cockfighting, horse racing, and jai-alai are a few of these (a Basque-inspired sport similar to racquetball).


Rizal Day Observations

There have been a few Rizal Day festivities over the years that deserve special mention:

  • Tagalog became the nation of the Philippines’ official language in 1937 under President Manuel L. Quezon.
  • 1942: KALIBAPI was established, and Rizal’s last poem, Mi ultimo adiós, was delivered in Japanese.
  • 1996: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Rizal’s murder, his last moments were re-enacted.
  • In 2000, a terrorist blast left 100 persons injured and 22 dead.

Also take note that from 1936 until 1973, Presidents were inaugurated on Rizal Day. The date of the inauguration was changed to June 30 in 1973.


Interesting Facts About Rizal Day

  1. Rizal Day is also the day of the inauguration – Since 1936, Rizal Day has also served as the Philippines’ new president’s inauguration day. On December 30, cockfighting is outlawed.
  2. On June 9, 1948, President Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act No. 229. This law forbade cockfighting, horse racing, and jai-alai on December 30 in order to preserve the solemnity of Rizal Day.
  3. Rizal was recognized as a “National Hero.” William Howard Taft, the American governor-general, designated Rizal as a “National hero” of the Philippines in 1901.
  4. Presidents preside over the Rizal Day celebrations. The Philippine President or Vice President officiates at the Rizal Day events in Manila, which are often held very early in the morning.
  5. Rizal didn’t participate in the uprising directly. Rizal was detained, prosecuted for treason, and hanged despite the fact that he played no direct part in the nationalist uprising and never engaged in any combat.


Why is Rizal Day Important?


As a Filipino national hero, José Rizal is honored.

The revolution against the Spanish colonists is said to have been started by Dr. Jose Rizal. The significant anniversary is marked by ceremonies, which include a flypast by the Philippine Air Force and the raising of the national flag at the Independence Flagpole.

It is a day of national mourning.

The Philippines observe a national day of mourning on December 30 in honor of Rizal in Malolos and all those who died during Spanish colonial authority. Rites, which take place across the nation’s provinces and cities, feature speeches, wreath-laying ceremonies, and flag-raising events.

Rizal Park wreath-laying rituals

At Manila’s Rizal Park, ceremonies for Rizal Day are held. The President and Vice President serve as the hosts of this early-morning event. It includes the President’s television-broadcast year-end message and the placing of a wreath at the Rizal Monument.


Filipino vocabulary essentials for Rizal Day

To start talking about Rizal Day in Tagalog, let’s go over some of the main vocabulary words from this page.

  • Noli Me Tangere – “Touch Me Not”
  • El Filibusterismo – “The Reign of Greed”
  • Kalayaan – “Freedom” [n]
  • Makabayan – “Patriotic” [adj]
  • Araw ni Jose Rizal – “Jose Rizal’s Day”
  • Pambansang bayani – “National hero” 
  • Pantay na karapatan – “Equal rights” [n]
  • Pag-asa – “Hope” [n]
  • Mapayapang reporma – “Peaceful reform” [n]
  • Dignidad – “Dignity” [n]

Keep in mind that our vocabulary list for Rizal Day includes each of these words along with their pronunciation.



Many people consider Rizal to be a secular martyr. Additionally, martyrs are customarily honored on the anniversary of their demise in the Catholic Church (as well as the Orthodox, Anglican, and other churches). Being a Catholic nation, then as now, it would seem only fitting to commemorate Rizal’s selfless sacrifice on the anniversary of his passing.

In the Philippines, Rizal Day serves as a day for solemn observance, introspection, and appreciation of the country’s liberation. It primarily aims to recognize Rizal for his significant contribution to putting the nation on the path to a better future.

Who are some of the well-known national heroes in your nation? Do you have a particular day to honor them? 

Comment below and let us know!