There are many traditions around the world during Nov. 1 or All Saints’ Day, when the Catholic faithful attends church to remember the saints.
Nov. 2 is All Souls’ Day, also known as Remembrance of the Dead. But in the Philippines, the traditions for the two days are barely observed separately. It is actually just remembering the loved ones, who went ahead of us.
For me, the Day of the Dead is actually a day for the LIVING. The day is an opportunity for the living to pause and remember demised relatives. Also, it is a day to remind us that we too shall die.
Apart from other holidays such as the Yuletide season, and Holy Week, the observation of All Souls Day is an event most Filipino families look forward to during the year.
Throngs brave the heavy traffic going to and from the cemeteries. We don’t mind the heat of the sun. It is the family reunion that we look forward to.
It is the time of the year for a family get-together, simply putting away work and re-uniting with close relatives, catching up with them, say Hi’s and Hello’s and How have you beens. For most, it is also time to get-together with friends.
The atmosphere is festive. Families prepare food to bring to the memorial park. The families gather together, and after praying the rosary to seek for the repose of the soul of a demised relative, then its chow time.
This year, my aunts brought the native rice cake (or biko), and a bilao of Pancit Malabon. I brought a big plastic of fish crackers and nutcrackers, mango chips and a big Coleman of iced tea.
My brother set up his huge tent that can accommodate more than 10 people inside…it was where my small nieces and nephews stayed if they needed some sleep.
As for the others, we prayed outside the tent, at my mother’s grave. It has been a decade since my mom left us, without notice.
As written on her crypt, her memories live with us forever. I am forever thankful that she provided us good moral guidance when she was still with us. It’s the GPS, which I use now in making major decisions in my life.
Yet, there were small things she taught me, such as those as simple as making up my own bed every morning, and other household chores which I and my three siblings share in keeping our humble home now.
Dad, of course, showed us how to be strong in every endeavor we made. He was the disciplinarian. A decade since my mom’s death, my dad remained to be with us until today. (So that’s a for another blog – on Father’s Day maybe)
There will always be some pain in remembering a loved one. Sometimes, you ask why one had to go too soon. But at least, we get to have some time to reflect on our own lives and make ourselves ready when it is time for us to go. (But not yet, my Lord… **wink,wink)
Hope you are having a meaningful day!