Presidential Decree 1083 (1977) first recognized and enforced Philippine Muslim holidays “to reinforce the unity of the Filipino people.” The observance of these holidays was initially limited to Mindanao. In Republic Act 9177 (2002), however, the Philippines recognized Eid’l Fitr as a regular holiday of nationwide observance.
The following are the Muslim festivals mentioned in PD1083:
Amon Jaded (New Year), which falls on the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. This commemorates the flight (Hijrah) of Mohammed to Medina in 622 CE to escape the Quraish tribe that threatened him and the small community he was leading. Historically, Amon Jaded marks the founding of a New Society in Medina, which became the first Muslim community to be formally organized by the Prophet Mohammed. The Islamic calendar counts dates from the Hijrah. It is purely based on the lunar cycle, and is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar cycle. The beginning of an Islamic month is marked not by the start of a new moon, but by human sighting of the crescent moon at a given place.
In the Philippines, Amon Jaded is observed by offering food (kanduli) to friends and neighbors, as well as by offering prayers for the nation and its leaders.
Maulud-en-Nabi (Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed). Mohammed was born in Mecca in AD 570, the only child of Abdullah and Aminah. On the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims commemorate the birth, which is also the death anniversary, of the Prophet of Islam.
Lailatul Isra Wal Mi’raj (Nocturnal Journey and Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad), which falls on the twenty-seventh day of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. The occasion marks the journey at night of the Prophet Mohammed from the sacred mosque to the mosque of Omar in Jerusalem. It was also then that Mohammed ascended to Heaven and was purified. During this time, the salat (the five obligatory prayers daily) was also institutionalized in obedience to Allah’s will.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, when Allah revealed the Holy Qur’an to the Prophet Mohammed. In this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The primary aim of fasting is to strengthen self-restraint among Muslims and to develop piety. It is a month of sacrifice and purification for Muslims worldwide.
Eid’l Fitr or Hari Raya Puasa (Day of Celebration), which falls on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. This day marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims cease their fasting and distribute Sadaqatul Fitr, or alms, among the poor.
Eid’l Adha or Hari Raja Haji (Day of Sacrifice), which falls on the tenth day of Zulhijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. This marks the culmination of the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca centered on the Sacred House, the Ka’bah built by the Prophet Abraham. Muslims also commemorate Abraham’s show of courage in obeying God even if it meant the sacrifice of his own son.
Muslim festivals are based on the five pillars of Islam, namely, 1) belief in Allah and His Messengers; 2) prayer five times daily; 3) charity to the poor; 4) fasting; and 5) pilgrimage to Mecca.
Brief prepared by the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office and by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, September 8, 2010.
Muhanna, Waleed. “The Islamic (Hijri) Calendar.” December 8, 1992. http://www.rabiah.com/convert/introduction.html, accessed November 9, 2010.
“Philippine Muslim Holidays.” The Muslim Filipinos: A Book of Readings. Ed. Nagasura T. Madale. Quezon City: Alemar-Phoenix Publishing House, Inc., 1981.