Next to Christmas and Holy Week, Halloween, also known as ‘Undas’ or ‘Araw ng mga Patay’ (Day of the Dead, November 2) is probably one of the most celebrated holidays in the Philippines.
Traditionally, a day or two before the ‘Undas’, family members clean and repaint their loved ones’ tombs. Candles and flowers are then laid and food, as always, is present. Yes, it is very common to see people eating at the cemetery. I don’t. For some reason I just can’t eat at the cemetery. Also, people pitching their tents near their loved one’s grave is also a usual scenario as most of them stay overnight. Cops and security officers tirelessly roam around to ensure peace and order.
Halloween also becomes a business opportunity to some people. They sell candles, flowers, food – usually kettle popcorn, candies, bottled water and soda. A mass normally is heard the next day after which most of the people start getting ready to live and go back to their regular routine.
However, nowadays, Halloween is fast replicating the western tradition of putting on costumes and goes trick-or-treat while some even host parties. It used to be a solemn gathering of family members to watch and pray over their loved ones. Currently, the younger generation is bringing boomboxes and play loud music, much to the consternation of the adult population. They are bringing the party-atmosphere into cemeteries and thus, it becomes difficult for some people who prefer to celebrate this holiday in a quiet tone. This is one of the reasons why we opt to pray for our young sister’s soul at home rather than go to the cemetery.