Wednesday, February 1, 2012

*279. Ing Balen Kang Dr. Jose P. Rizal: RIZAL DAY

QUEEN CORAZON I, RIZAL DAY QUEEN. Corazon Castro, of Sta. Rita, Pampanga, reigned as Miss Rizal Day in the 1936 celebration of Rizal Day in Balatoc Mines, Mountain Province. She later married a Lapid and settled in Baguio. Dated 1936.

Rizal Day commemorates the date of death of our national hero, Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal, and is considered as one of our most significant national holidays, held every December 30. First marked in 1898, Rizal Day started as a day of mourning until the Americans transformed it into an affair with a carnival atmosphere, in the tradition of American national heroes days. To the Americans, Rizal, as a Filipino ideal, was a natural choice as he was martyred by Spain, the colonial power that they had ousted from the islands.

Our hero, himself, had some association with the province; he took a train in San Fernando to travel to Bacolor, where he purportedly met and was smitten by Rosario Joven. Rizal was said to have picked up the language easily and even wrote letters in Kapampangan. Finally, there are the Kapampangan Mercados who claim to have some blood ties with Rizal. But whether related or not, Rizal seemed to be everyone’s ubiquitous idol when his cult was popularized.

Every town was enjoined to erect a statue of the National Hero in the poblacion or in the town plaza, and Pampanga boasts some of the finest statues of Rizal, often life-size, dressed in his trademark overcoat and made of cast cement. Macabebe holds the distinction of having the first Rizal monument in Pampanga, put up in 1919. In my town, Mabalacat, for instance, a 70 plus year old statue of Rizal stands guard on the side of our municipio, enshrined in 1940, as a memorial to our great nationalist. Annual traditional Rizal day rites include flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies in his hometown and in Luneta.

Another American-introduced event-- Garden Day-- was sometimes appended to Rizal Day. An important part of the celebration was the selection of Rizal Day muses, of which every town seemed to have one, Kapampangan towns included. Crowns for Rizal Day Beauties were ordered from the Avenida talyer of Maxima Lapera de Guzman which produced them in different shapes and designs. Often bejeweled, they were available from P13.00 to 34.00 each.

Rizal’s sesquicentennial (150th) birth anniversary was recently marked nationwide on 19 June 2011. Pampanga joined the celebrations, led by the Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University which created a facebook fan page in collaboration with Rizal’s great grandniece Lisa Tinio-Bayot. The Rizal 150 community page featured 150 Rizal quotations daily and pictures of monuments from around the country, in the hope of generating renewed interest in our national hero, so that, in a special way, every day can be a Rizal Day.

1 comment:

Titanons said...

You mentioned Rosario Joven of Bacolor whom Rizal was smitten with. I am tracing my Joven family and would like to know if you have more info on her. so far, I only have one Rosario Joven in my family tree. She is the daughter of Ceferino Joven y Casas, the civil governor in 1901-1903.