All Saints Day

In the Philippines, it is called Araw ng mga Patay (Day of the Dead), Todos Los Santos or Undas (the latter two due to the fact that this holiday is celebrated on November 1, All Saints Day), designated by the Roman Catholic Church). The Filipino citizens treat it as an almost festive event and has more of a “family reunion” atmosphere. It is said to be an “opportunity to be with” the departed and is done in a somewhat solemn way. When November 1 hits the calendar, the “Araw ng mga Patay” for the Filipinos start, as a celebration of the solemn and collective remembrance of the Day of the Dead. The almost festive movements are not short, for in fact lasts till the next day, which is the All Souls Day. Catholics in the Philippines have a tradition of setting aside their days to wind down and remember their dead loved ones. Since the Philippines have the most number of catholic citizens in the whole of Asia, a lot of people celebrate the fact that the whole of the state has a mandatory two day vacation for the whole country. People who are asked to work on those days need to be receiving a special rate of wage. This is a luxury that is granted to the Filipinos to commemorate for all the passed away souls of those who died and the saints. Although it would seem queer to some people that the Filipinos celebrate the solemn All Saints Day and All Souls Day in a joyous way, what they do not understand is that the Filipinos are naturally happy people. They truly respect their passed away loved ones very much, but they want to remember the good times with their ancestors instead of the bad.

A lot of Filipino people celebrate these holidays in different ways, such as creating unique singing or musical group that is named a “pangangaluluwa” and then go around the town, and sing on the night of the All Saints Day. The whole point and idea of a “pangangaluluwa” group is to represent the passed away people going from door to door asking for alms and prayers from the living. They are also the representative for the souls stuck in purgatory that ask for small gifts from the houses that they do visit.

There are thirteen holy Roman Catholic churches that are situated all over the Philippines. It is customary for the traditional Roman Catholics to go to all these churches and pray in them, in order to make your ancestors happy. Purgatory is not a happy place for souls, as said in traditional catholic lessons, and you should be able to help the souls of your ancestors when you complete praying in all of the thirteen churches.

Almost every one of the tombs of the passed away are decorated in the All Saints Day by their families. Most Filipino families who stick with traditional ways and customs often bury their dead loved ones together in the same tomb. It would seem weird to other people who are from another country that Filipinos would decorated such solemn tombs with balloons and bright decorations, but to the Filipinos it almost lifts some of the burden of losing a loved one.

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