Friday, October 30, 2009
Todos los Santos
In my native country, the Philippines, we don’t celebrate Halloween like they do here in the United States but around this time we celebrate “Todos los Santos” (all saints/souls day) instead. Being predominantly Catholic, Filipinos celebrate this holiday by remembering friends and relatives who have passed on. It is similar to Mexico and Latin America’s day of the dead.
A few days before the holiday, Filipinos would clean and spruce up their cemeteries. They would re- paint the tombstones, mow the grass and remove the weeds around the grave sites. On the day itself, November first, families would visit the grave sites, bringing along candles and fresh flowers. The day is a mixture of solemn and merry occasion. It is a time to remember the departed love ones, to pray for them, conduct a vigil and at the same time to socialize with other relatives and neighbors who came to visit the grave sites.
And since Filipinos love to eat they usually bring food with them, not to offer them to the dead but to have a picnic along the site. The cemeteries would have a festive atmosphere; many flowers, candles and food stalls would be along the entrance.