Today, our Muslim brethren throughout the country are celebrating Eid’l Fitr, a day of celebration marking the end of the month of Ramadan in the Muslim calendar. Ramadan itself is a sacred month to Muslim just as the Lenten season is to Christians as Muslims practice day-long fasting and sacrifices throughout that period.
Owing to the fact that the Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar, the date of Eid’l Fitr varies from year to year. This year actually, the celebration fell on July 28 but the Philippines will be celebrating it as a holiday on the day after, perhaps due to the precedence with the State of the Nation Address happening on the 28th. More on that a bit later.
Speaking of holiday, the Eid’l Fitr holiday in the country is a fairly new one, adopted by law in 2002 as a gesture of promoting peace and harmony, especially with the Muslim community in the country.
This should be also serve as an opportunity to learn more about the Muslim culture in the Philippines. Museo Pambata for instance will be holding a special exhibit about the Filipino Muslim culture until August 9. Do check it out as the details can be found here.
July 28 marked the opening of the 2nd regular session of the 16th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines. As part of tradition, the opening of a new session is marked by the president delivering his/her State of the Nation Address, (SONA) where the president gives a report of what the administration has done for the past year and what it hopes to achieve in the next year with the help of the legislature.
Depending on who you talk to, this year’s SONA is either an “inspirational address by a beloved president” or “an address lacking in substance and full of empty platitudes by an administration reeling with corruption.” Take your pick.
No SONA would be complete without the presence of militant groups with their huge banners and effigies, especially Commonwealth Avenue near the Batasan Complex where the President usually delivers the SONA. A tradition that has been going on since probably after the first People Power Revolution in 1986.
We can only hope that our Congress this session will get to pass some meaningful legislature to at least redeem itself from the scandals that had shook its reputation recently…assuming it has some sort of reputation in the first place.