December 30 or Rizal Day does not mark Jose Rizal’s birthday

December 30, 2019 - 11:07 PM
Jose Rizal rendition
A rendition of Dr. Jose Rizal. (Philippine News Agency/Released)

Filipinos reminded their fellow countrymen that Rizal Day, an occasion held every 30th of December, does not commemorate Dr. Jose Rizal‘s birthday but his death anniversary or the day the Spaniards executed him.

Local Twitter saw the word “Rizal” appear on the top trending list as the country commemorates his 123rd death anniversary on Monday.

Among the tweets that included his last name are posts calling out users who have been tweeting “Happy Birthday, Jose Rizal,” among others.

A Twitter user urged Filipinos to read their history books or research about Philippine history again.

Another user shared a meme to depict how Filipino and Araling Panlipunan teachers would most probably react upon reading the wrong tweets.

A content creator took a screenshot of tweets he saw under the “Happy Birthday Jose Rizal” phrase and then said that the historical figure didn’t sacrifice his life so Filipinos could throw their history out the window.

Unfortunately, it is not the first time that Rizal’s death anniversary has been falsely associated with his birthday, which was on June 19, 1861. This year commemorates his 158th birthday.

His death anniversary, meanwhile, is commemorated every 30th of December. This year marks his 123rd death anniversary.

Four years ago, a report surfaced that social media users extended birthday greetings to Rizal on December 30.

Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez had tweeted that he will “judge” anyone who greets the hero with a “happy birthday.”

The same thing happened three years before that. Another news outlet shared that online Filipinos had “confused” Rizal Day as his day of birth instead of his execution.

Commemoration of martyrdom

Every December 30, the country commemorates Rizal’s death anniversary, who is considered one of the nation’s greatest heroes.

This year marks his 123rd death anniversary.

The occasion observes his nationalism and martyrdom when he died in the hands of the Spanish by musketry on charges of rebellion, sedition and conspiracy.

It is considered a national holiday and commemorations would usually include a raising of the Philippine flag and wreath-laying ceremonies in Rizal Park, the Rizal Shrine in Laguna and other venues in different parts of the country.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines previously admitted that celebrating Rizal’s death anniversary instead of his birthday, a much more jovial occasion, is a “controversial” move.

December 30 is given more historical significance than June 19 since the former observes his martyrdom “symbolizing his great love for the country” and recalls the reason why he willingly gave up his life for the nation.