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All Saints Day in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the Catholic religion is the majority and very structured with tradition. One of the major holidays to remember the family that passed is on November 1st and 2nd. The first is All Saints Day and second is All Souls Day. Besides using this day for remembering Family members who have passed, it is also like a Fiesta.

Two of Elena’s brothers arrived this morning and everyone went to the Cemetery of Elena’s mom. Each year they go to clean and paint the crypt and to place flowers. This is minor to how others celebrate. I drove some of the group while the others took a taxi. Many streets in front of the cemeteries were turned into One Way streets to control traffic. Because of this there were many traffic jams everywhere.

As we got close to the cemetery there were booths selling foods, drinks, flowers and everything else needed by the visitors. I was not allowed to enter the cemetery so I let everyone off at the entrance. Looking through the fence, I saw tent coverings all over.

This is how many celebrate the holiday. Some of the coverings are for shade, but many families spend the night and serve either vigil, or just party all night. Because of the commotion, a few years ago, the Mayor banned alcoholic beverages and karaoke from the cemeteries.

I am not one for cemeteries; I prefer not to be reminded of death but to flowers-for-saleremember my past relatives from good times when they were alive. For this reason, I let Elena and her family go without me.  Even with my beliefs, it is nice to see how past relatives are remembered and celebrated.

As I am writing this on Sunday evening a bad rainstorm has started. I am vigils-and-tentswondering how many have fled home.moms-grave

4 Responses to “All Saints Day in the Philippines”

  1. Hi Bruce,

    I know exactly what you mean about cemeteries – not my favourite place. Over here in Austria they are mainly Catholic as well and also celebrate All Saints and All Souls day by visiting the graves of relatives. Interestingly, there are not so many graveyards here as Uhrenheim(s) (Urn homes) where the ashes of the departed are enshrined, rather than the bones. Takes up less space and serves the same purpose – a memorial to lost loved ones. I find it a bit less unfriendly to visit.

  2. J.B says:

    hi Bruce,

    i will tell you the truth, here in East AFRICA, especially, Uganda where i come from, it will be rarely for one to find a cemetery because honestly we bury our relatives from where our origins are or begin which means that those places are usually far from the cities where we normally leave and we only go there to bury and visit:
    the cemeteries you will find are more likely to be for citizens who are foreign but live in the country.
    As for All saints day and soul’s day we are not that kin that much but people celebrate it, but not the way you do.
    if there is something people usually want to celebrate it would not be the dead, it is so tough a subject that they are at times forgotten and every person deals with it differently, in fact you guys are doing it much better than i would.
    The thought is dead people are never bothered unless you are cleaning, renovating the grave sites

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