Maligayang Pasko – Feliz Pascua – Happy Easter


by AZA Antonio Zebedeo Abad, 4-April-2021


500 years ago, journalist Antonio Pigafetta wrote in his journal: Domenica di Pasqua, 31 marzo 1521, Pasqua in Butuán.1 This was the first Easter mass celebrated by the Magallanes-Elcano expedition in Butuán, in what they named as the Archipelago of St Lazarus, known today as the Philippine Islands. The expedition was sponsored by the Crown of Castilla.2 This was then the first greeting of Easter in Castellano: ¡Feliz Pascua! that the native people learned from the expedition.

This year 2021, we celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. Sometime in the archipelago’s history, that original greeting of Feliz Pascua somehow became misused for Merry Christmas, which in Castellano is ¡Feliz Navidad! Are we then also celebrating 500 years of the misuse of the word Pascua meaning Easter that in common modern Philippine usage is now Christmas?

¨Maligayang Pasko¨ is commonly used for the greeting, ¨Merry Christmas¨. When it is used for Easter, it is expounded further as ¨Maligayang Pasko ng Muling Pagkabuhay¨. Why not greet Christmas correctly as ¨Maligayang Pagsilang¨ and Easter as ¨Maligayang Pasko¨?

Another word that the Filipinos understood incorrectly is ¨siempre¨. In common modern Philippine usage, ¨siyempre¨ means, ¨of course¨. However, the Castellano word ¨siempre¨ means ¨always¨, and the Castellano word for ¨of course¨ is ¨por supuesto¨.

In the next 500 years, let us then correct our historical language usage by using ¨Maligayang Pagsilang¨ for Christmas and ¨Maligayang Pasko¨ for Easter.

  1. Pigafetta, Antonio. La primera vuelta al mundo – Relación de la expedición de Magallanes y Elcano. trans. It. to Sp. ¨Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo¨, Isabel de Riquer. Amazon Kindle Edition, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, España, 28-Marzo-2019.
  2. In 1521, there was no country known as Spain. It was the Crown of Castille that was the dominant kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula.
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