Bonifacio Day (“Kaarawan ni Bonifacio” in Tagalog) is a national public holiday in the Philippines that celebrates the birthday of one of the Philippines’ greatest heroes, Andrés Bonifacio.
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Born in 30 November 1863, Bonifacio is considered as the Father of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonisation. He, along with some others, started a movement known as the ‘Katipunan’ in 1892. The Katipunan was a secret revolutionary society that instigated military revolts against the Spanish colonisers.
Bonifacio became the Katipunan’s military leader and the president of the revolutionary government, which (according to some historians) makes Bonifacio the first president of the Philippine Republic. Bonifacio and the Katipunan recruited many citizens to their cause, eventually becoming the most prominent revolutionary force the Spaniards had to face.
However Bonifacio’s leadership was contested by some others, and in particular, Emilio Aguinaldo. After a series of leadership challenges and internal rifts, Aguinaldo violently took over the revolutionary forces and unjustly ordered Bonifacio to be tried and executed under the guise of treason.
Bonifacio Day is held on 30 November, or the Monday nearest this day to create a long weekend. Unlike the main national hero, José Rizal, Bonifacio Day is celebrated on his day of birth, rather than his day of death. This is because Bonifacio was killed by his fellow countrymen, rather than at the hands of foreign colonisers.
Bonifacio Day is a national holiday, which means that those who do not work on that day are still entitled to their pay. Most businesses and schools are closed for the day. Families and friends may choose to spend time at the many public venues such as shopping centres and parks that remain open for the day. People also visit monuments dedicated to Bonifacio to reflect on what he did for the country.