All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day in the Philippines.
Due to the pandemic, again we have an odd celebration this year 2021. Filipinos are predominantly catholic, and we have a tradition of visiting our lost loved ones in the cemeteries and columbariums.
The Corona Virus Inter-Agency Task Force ordered the closure of “all public and private memorial parks including columbarium” across the country from October 29 to November 4 to prevent Covid-19 infection.
People can still visit the cemeteries before and after these dates to avoid the crowd. In Lipa City Batangas, public and private cemeteries organized schedules for each barangays when they can visit the cemetery.
Lipa City has one of the fastest-growing populations in Batangas.
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When is All Saint’s Day?
Traditionally, All Saint’s Day marks a Roman Catholic Holiday that celebrates saints who were not awarded their own feast day. It also marks a celebration of the lives of the deceased.
All Saint’s Day in the Philippines is celebrated similarly to the holidays of Spanish colonized countries like Mexico. On November 1st each year, Filipinos flock to their family plots in cemeteries across the country. We also use this holiday to hold a family reunion where groups of extended family gather together.
When is All Soul’s Day?
All Soul’s Day is a day of almsgiving and prayers for the dead. In the Philippines, All Soul’s Day is observed on November 2.
The aim of All Soul’s Day is to remember and pray for the souls of those who are in Purgatory – a place in which those who have died to atone for minor sins before being granted the vision of God in Heaven.
The entire cemetery visiting season is centered around these 2 days is called Undas. It has become a strongly observed annual celebration in the Philippines.
There is a lot of meaning to different people about Undas. For some, it is a time to commemorate the lost parents, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, and family members and friends. Reminiscing the good things they have done and memories with them. Praying that their souls are at peace with God.
For some, this is a day of family gathering where the cemetery is the place where family members meet again that they didn’t see for a long time. This is also the time this family reunion serves as a bridge for them to agree and settle on each other when they have issues in the past.
This is a day to celebrate life and appreciate the life that is given to us. To honor lost our loved ones by offering their memorial tomb flowers and candles.
Filipino traditions are also evident in these times. Whenever Undas is coming, you can always see kakanin and minatamis like puto, bibingka, kutsinta, suman and offered to the visitors of the deceased loved ones.
Before the day of Undas, there are children singing like carolings that we call in Lipa Batangas, “Nangangaluluwa”. Children are singing in front of other people’s homes near them and are very happy when they are given coins or treats like biscuits and candies. Maybe this is our version of Trick or Treat similar to western countries, the difference is we don’t use costumes.
Undas is a very special day for us Filipinos and it’s our tradition that we can call ours.