Halloween celebrations have started over the weekend and many have also started doing other related activities. But is that all? If you’re a Filipino Catholic, you know the answer.
Apart from Halloween (and Oktoberfest), people should also start planning and preparing for All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. These dates are important in the Philippines. All Saint’s Day which falls after All Hallows’ Eve is always declared a holiday so that people can visit their deceased loved ones. You might be wondering why. I also ask that myself. Why visit on All Saint’s Day and not on All Soul’s Day which is the feast of all souls?
According to research and my grandparents, people attend a mass for the saints on November 1st which is All Saint’s Day. Moreover, they visit the cemetery in the afternoon of All Saint’s Day especially on All Soul’s Day.
But due to a distinct Filipino culture and sense of community, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day are considered both a religious and cultural practice. So everyone goes back home on these dates, on Holy Week especially on Christmas to be with their family.
Apart from visiting every other Sunday, our family also visits on All Saint’s and All Soul’s Day from 7AM to 6PM. We are glad that November 1 and 2 falls on a weekend which will not be a problem.
Filipinos prepare as early as possible because business establishments close up early and due to flower and candle prices. Not to mention, the food, vehicles and tents. First, let’s go to the most important ones.
Candles and flowers – The prices for both go up as All Saint’s Day comes near. The good thing about candles is that you can buy it early. No problem there, really. Flowers, on the other hand, you do not have that much choice but to buy a day before or on the day itself.
When buying flowers, people always go to the Dangwa Flower Market also known as Bulaklakan ng Maynila (Flower Market of Manila). The market is a home to several small individually-owned stalls and street vendors selling fresh flowers and flower arranging paraphernalia located in Sampaloc, Manila. This means that you have various choices and a higher chance to purchase it at a lower price.
Indeed, visiting Dangwa is worth it. But what if you do not have the time? You can buy flowers at any market near you. Just make sure to wake up early for a higher chance in getting fresh flowers at a lower price.
Tip: Use floral foams. It helps extend the life of your flowers because it is a reliable water source. Also, add some fern on your floral arrangements for more emphasis.
Tents – Not everyone has a tent lying around their home. It can be expensive and can take too much space if you buy one especially if you only use it once a year. At Himlayang Pilipino Memorial Park, they have tents in various sizes which people can rent. Be sure to visit your memorial park’s office early to ask if they have one so you can reserve.
Tip: Last year, we had a nice tent. We left the cemetery at 6PM but went back an hour and a half later. To our surprise, the tent we rented was gone. Sad to say, it rained that night causing the candles and flower basket to be soaked. We reported it to the office and the next day (All Soul’s Day), its back in our place. Make sure to mark your tent even if it’s yours or rented. In case it disappears and you think that one you see is your tent, you have a proof.
Chairs, tables and handwoven mat – It may look like a picnic. But All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day are similar to a family reunion. Since most will be staying the entire day or overnight, you have to be comfortable especially if you will be bringing elders and kids.
Food – Filipinos love rice. But what would be a good partner? I’m thinking of adobo, fried chicken and pinakbet for lunch. Kakanin and chips are good for snacks. Don’t forget to bring water and ice as it can be hot there since many will be visiting as well.
Vehicles – Since the cemeteries will be packed, parking may be difficult. It also depends which cemetery you will be going to. Watch the news to be informed about traffic and parking. They always cover and visit different memorial parks, so you’ll definitely have an idea.
If you will be bringing a car, just be there early. That’s what we always do and we always have a good parking spot.
Tip: Park where you can see your car. If it’s outside the cemetery, make sure to lock everything. Check on it once in a while.
That’s how most families prepare for the All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. But the most important thing is to offer a mass for the souls of your deceased loved ones. Then at the cemetery, light candles and pray for their souls.