How the Filipinos Celebrate All Saints and All Souls Days
Philippines is an Asian country of 7,707 islands. It is the only catholic country in Southeast Asia with more than 83% Catholics. A catholic country with a lot of superstitious beliefs and traditions. There is no Thanksgiving Day celebration in the Philippines although some Filipino-Americans are adopting Thanksgiving Day Celebration at home. Nowadays, Halloween parties are being practiced everywhere at work, schools, on television as well as at home.
The Filipinos celebrate All Saints Day on the 1st of November and All Souls Day on the 2nd of November every year. These are the days when lots of Filipinos, who are working far from their families, go home to their families to celebrate and commemorate the days of their dead relatives.
Weeks and days before November, the Filipinos go to their respected cemeteries to clean the graves of their love ones. They are so busy with getting rid of the grasses and garbage that surrounds the graves. Some painted the wall, polishing the names, putting tiles to the floor and putting ceiling of the their dead's "houses". They beautify the surroundings for those special days. They do these things as they stay at the graveyard for more than two hours and even stay there overnight. Yes, overnight as they vigil and sleep in the graveyard with the other relatives while celebrating the All Saints and All Souls Days. There is no celebration without food and plays. They eat, sing with karaoke and even dance at their graveyards.
The 9 days novena is being prayed. The 8 days of the novenas are prayed at home where as the last day, the 9th day novena is being prayed in the cemetery as the final prayer. This prayer is a tribute to the dead that they may rest in peace and that God will save their souls. A priest gives a Mass at the cemetery on those special days.
All Saints Day
All Saints Day is a special day for the parents to celebrate and remember the death of their children. From babies to the young children who die in their early innocent lives. Lives which had just began but early ended due to many sad circumstances in life. This day is called All Saints Day because in my opinion the children were still innocent. They have not committed sins yet.
All Souls Day
All Souls Day is on the second of November. It is the day when the Filipinos give tribute to their dead adult relatives. They prayed for the salvation of their souls.
How The Filipino Celebrate
- Cleaning the graves at least a week before the All Saints Day.
- Organizing 9 Days Novenas at home where the last day Novena is held at the cemetery. A priest gives Mass on those days for the peace and the salvation of the dead' s souls.
- Names of the dead relatives are announced at the Mass in the church. This prayer is for the salvation of their souls.
- Food is prepared for the celebration. From Lumpia to fruitsalad are being prepared and eaten not at home but at the graveyard of the dead relative. Of course the favorite food of the dead relative is being served as well as the other delicious Filipino dishes.
- The relatives gather around the grave and enjoy the celebration by eating, singing, joking, playing cards and many others you can think of.
- They sleep overnight at the grave of their relatives.
My great thanks to my friend Melba and her family, who allowed me to publish the photo of the graveyard of her loving and missed husband.
© 2011 Thelma Alberts