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Courtesy Week – January 20-26, 2025

Courtesy Week is observed in the fourth week of January in the Philippines, and we are excited to share this day with you by sending our warmest greetings. This year it is celebrated from January 20 to 26. An annual occasion, Courtesy Week emphasizes the importance of courtesy and respect in the interaction between government employees and the general public.

History of Courtesy Week

The term ‘courtesy’ originated in the 12th century from the word ‘courteis,’ meaning gentle politeness and courtly manners. In Europe during the Middle Ages, good manners, and amiability, usually in the form of ethical social behavior, were expected. In 1965, a proclamation by the President of the Philippines, Diosdado Macapagal, on September 6 changed the date for the observance of Courtesy Week from the second week of October to the fourth week of January.

According to the President, since Courtesy Week encourages more courteous and dedicated service among government employees, it is more appropriate to celebrate this occasion early in the year to emphasize the need for government employees to exercise courtesy in their dealings with the general public.

The 1965 proclamation No. 449 was made in the capital city of Manila, home to over 1.7 million Filipinos in recent years. Manila is a bayside city on the island of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, and comprises 16 administrative districts. It features tourist attractions such as the 16th-century San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago, which is a storied citadel and former military prison. Fort Santiago is at Intramuros, a walled area at the heart of Old Manila.

The Philippines Civil Service Commission is charged with the responsibility of organizing and coordinating the Courtesy Week occasion. The yearly celebration of Courtesy Week has proved effective in promoting more courteous and accountable interaction among government employees. The Courtesy Week initiative is in line with the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) adopted by the Philippines government to fight corruption and improve the behavior of its frontline staff in their service to the general public.

Courtesy Week timeline

12th Century
Courtesy is ‘Courteis’

In 12th century Europe, the word ‘courtesy’ is 'courteis' meaning gentleness and courtly manners.

The Most Influential Courtesy Book is Published

“The Book of the Courtier” is published and becomes the most influential courtesy book of the 16th century.

19th Century
Courtesy is Replaced by Gallantry

The courtesy philosophy is replaced by gallantry, a social standard gaining public appeal during the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century.

Proclamation of a New Date

The date observed for the celebration of Courtesy Week was moved from the second week of October to the fourth week of January by the President of the Philippines Diosdado Macapagal, on September 6.

Courtesy Week FAQs

What is considered rude in the Philippines?

Opening gifts immediately in the presence of the person who offered the gift. Giving chrysanthemums and white lilies to a dinner host. Arriving early for a large party. Rejecting meals or drinks outrightly. Asking a Filipino to do a task on the weekend.

What are Filipino etiquettes?

In a formal meeting, greet the eldest or most important person first. You can offer a handshake and a smile. Address the person you are meeting with their title and surname unless you are invited to use their first name. If you are invited to dinner at a Filipino home, take sweets or flowers for the host.

What does courtesy mean?

Courtesy means showing politeness and kindness in one’s attitude and behavior towards others.

How to Observe Courtesy Week

  1. Use courtesy in your interaction with other people

    This week helps you remember an important human value: kindness. Use this week to show courtesy when you interact with others. Thank people who are kind to you and be appreciative. Be considerate and perform a thoughtful act for a friend or even a stranger.

  2. Start your day with a smile

    Start your day with a smile and say simple, kind things like 'thank you,' 'sorry,' or 'please' when you need to. Be kind to people, and you will receive kindness back. Remember, what goes around, comes around.

  3. Compliment a friend or stranger

    Paying a compliment to someone you meet will make them smile and improve their day. Compliments encourage positivity and goodwill.

5 Important Facts About Courtesy

  1. Courtesy is legendary

    Courtesy is a quality included in Chivalry or the chivalric code along with friendship, generosity, chastity, and piety.

  2. Books were written about courtesy

    A genre for courtesy books appeared in the Middle Ages in Europe covering topics from religion and ethics to social awareness and social conduct.

  3. The most famous courtesy book

    Baldassare Castiglione wrote “The Book of the Courtier,” which represented the rebirth of the classical ideal of the well-rounded man where culture and virtue were revered as tools of self-advancement.

  4. Timeless qualities

    The epic fantasy movie, "The Green Knight," released in 2021, draws on the medieval theme of knighthood, governed by The Knight's Code, a moral system that knights should have moral strength and be willing to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.

  5. Courtesy was only taught to the nobility

    In middle-age Europe and China, courtesy and etiquette were only taught to the noble class.

Why Courtesy Week is Important

  1. Thank you is a language everybody understands

    Common courtesy such as saying “thank you,” “sorry,” and “please” are universal, appropriate and acceptable behavior in all cultures. Courtesy Week serves as a valuable reminder to use these kind words in our everyday speech.

  2. What goes around, comes around

    When you are kind and polite to the people around you, whether they are loved ones, friends, or strangers, you are treated back the same way. Even a little act of kindness from you can improve someone else's day and yours.

  3. Observe culture

    Courtesy promotes unity and is the right thing to do in every given society and culture. It engenders willingness and the happiness that comes from giving and receiving courtesy from the people you meet and interact with.

Courtesy Week dates

2022January 24Monday
2023January 23Monday
2024January 22Monday
2025January 20Monday
2026January 19Monday

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