Western culture celebrates Halloween and it is slowly adopted to other culture like Filipino culture. Some are now participating in Treat-or-Trick parties but the custom of remembering the dead is still present.
Undas, as Filipinos call it covers both November 1 and 2 which is All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day respectively. A predominantly Christian custom to remember our departed loved ones and pray for their souls. As much as some criticise the modern generation of remembering the dead only during these times and worse, losing the real essence of these days to give way for modern-day holidays – trips and mini-reunion, still, some never cease to depart what we are used to do.
A week before tombs are cleaned – repainting and pulling out all those weeds accumulated for at least a year. And there is the economic effects where a great demand for candles and flowers. A traffic rush for those city dwellers catching a ride to go home.
Usually, many of us celebrate it on Nov 1st and then rest during the exact day of Araw ng mga Patay. Some stay home during the Todos los Santos and go out on November 2 to avoid crowds.
Visiting the cemetery and saying prayers is the basic thing we do during Undas. The church also ask the faithful to attend Mass. Some like those who can’t visit the cemeteries, light candles outside their homes remembering the souls of their dead loved ones.
And because, we Filipinos love food and get together, Undas is one occasion to hold a mini-reunion. Though this is highly frowned upon by many, some would create a mini-get together in the tombs of their loved ones. Cemeteries turned into a picnic park. Bringing not just food but music and even drinks. Some find it nice as it is a great opportunity to gather the family with the thought of your ancestor happily looking at all his/her descendants in camaraderie.
However you choose to celebrate Undas, what is more important is to have a moment of solemnity even for a short time. To meditate and remember those who departed and pray for their souls.
What Filipino Undas custom and tradition do you miss?