Do you know that 12th of June is Philippine Independence Day?
And do you know that the same date is Brazilian Valentines Day?
For Filipinos, this special day commemorates freedom from the hands of Spanish colonizers. In 1898, three hundred thirty-three years of subservience and oppression finally came to a close. It is an important page in our history as the Philippine nation started to discover its own identity.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Brazilians celebrate it as a day of love. Unlike the majority who glorify this most intense of human emotions on the 14th of February, Brazilians do so mid-year. I asked my friends of how this came to be. Answers I got varied from February coinciding with carnivale (an arguably bigger celebration in their country), that maybe it’s because Brazilians tend to be late (funny but I dare not pass judgment if true or mere jest), and down to simple social economics (marking the occasion to a different month resulted in better sales). Whatever the reason is, it’s definitely unique.
So Brazilians are celebrating love on the same day that Filipinos are celebrating independence.
At first, I wasn’t sure whether to regard it funny or strange or both. But letting the idea sink in for a while, I realized that perhaps it makes perfect sense.
Maybe freedom can be considered a kind of love. After all, Philippine heroes have sacrificed in the name of fighting for the honor of their beloved “Pearl of the Orient Sea.” Today, we battle “internal evils” in the name of this beautiful land we call home. It can be challenging, but we remain proud of our heritage.
And perhaps love is a kind of freedom. love is fundamentally choosing to care for another person. You consciously decide, of free will, to share your life with another.
Love. Freedom. They are perhaps the two cornerstones of a truly fulfilled human life, and each has a significant relation to the other.
Happy Valentines to Brazilians out there!
Happy Independence Day to my beloved countrymen!
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