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Everybody loves a hero! And National Heroes’ Day is a great time to honor and celebrate those heroes that inspire and make the world a better place.

History of National Heroes’ Day

While many countries throughout the world have a National Heroes’ Day, the one that falls on this day is celebrated in the Philippines in late summer. It is placed on this date in honor of the beginning of the Philippine Revolution that started in 1896. It marks the anniversary of the Cry of Pugad Lawin that started the uprising against the Spanish Empire.

Although the exact date and place of this revolt remains unknown, it is thought to have occurred either on August 26 or August 23.

National Heroes’ Day started in 1931 when it was celebrated on the last Sunday in August each year. Thi changed in 2007, when it was moved to the last Monday in August. This movement was for practical reasons, to add an additional day to make a long weekend, and to boost business and domestic tourism.

How to Celebrate National Heroes’ Day

Try out some of these ideas for celebrating this important day:

Attend a National Heroes’ Day Event

Those who live in the Philippines will often celebrate National Heroes’ Day as a day to remember those who died in service to their nation. Parades and laying of wreaths or flowers is a common way for this day to be commemorated. Fireworks displays are also often enjoyed in celebration of this day.

Watch a Movie About a Hero

Some people might enjoy celebrating National Heroes’ Day by watching a film that tells the story of a real life hero. Consider watching one of these hero-themed movies:

  • Schindler’s List (1993). A historical drama tells the story of Oskar Schindler who saved the lives of his Jewish employees during World War II.
  • Erin Brockovich (2000). Showing how an average law clerk can stand up for the rights of a group of people – and win – this film is based on the woman who was instrumental in building a case to prove groundwater contamination in California in 1993.
  • Just Mercy (2019). Starring Jamie Foxx, this movie reveals the story of a Harvard Law graduate who helps to overturn the conviction of a death row inmate who was wrongfully convicted.
  • Captain Phillips (2013). This film starring Tom Hanks tells about how Richard Phillips used his skills to save his crew on their boat that was hijacked by pirates.

Learn About Different National Heroes’ Days 

Many countries in the world have their own National Heroes’ Days that they celebrate on different calendar dates. For instance, the United Kingdom celebrates this day on October 21 in honor of the Battle of Trafalgar, while Saint Kitts and Nevis celebrate on September 16.

Other Heroes’ Days include:

  • Zimbabwe celebrates on the second Monday of August, remembering those who died in the Liberation War.

  • In Hungary, May 31 is a public holiday for National Heroes’ Day.

  • The Cayman Islands celebrates National Heroes’ Day on the fourth Monday in January.

  • November 10 is a remembrance day for heroes in Indonesia, commemorating the Battle of Surabaya in 1945.

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