TODAY, November 1, we join the Filipino people, particularly members of the highly-influential Catholic Church, in the celebration of this year’s “All Saints’ Day.”
From as far as Batanes in the North to barangays, towns and cities where the Christian faith is professed in the South, people troop to cemeteries to visit their dead.
A special holiday in this impoverished nation, which is the third largest Catholic country in the world, “All Saints’ Day” is a much-awaited occasion in the Philippines.
With candles, flowers and plenty of food, including rice cakes, Filipinos flock to private and public cemeteries to pay their respects to their departed relatives.
In fact, family members often camp overnight in the cemetery, where they hold their annual reunion.
“Sa totoo lang, nagsisilbing reunion ng maraming pamilyang Pilipino ang okasyon,” according to a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Every year, many Filipinos, who are already permanent residents of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Spain, make it a point to return to the Philippines.
To prepare for the occasion, otherwise known as “Undas” in various parts of the country, family members visit the graves or tombs days or weeks before “All Saints’ Day.”
This year, as in the past, family members visited and cleaned the grave yard and repainted the tomb of their ancestors.
Indeed, observing “All Saints’ Day” is a long-standing custom in the Philippines.