July 01, 2021

How Filipinos Celebrate All Souls’ Day

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  • Every November 2nd, people in most parts of the world celebrate All Souls’ Day. It is the day when we remember our loved ones who have passed away. How do Filipinos honor the dead?

    Most Filipinos go to the cemetery to visit the graves of deceased relatives and friends. Some prefer to go on Oct. 31st or Nov. 1st, while some go to the cemetery for three straight days. Others would spend the night at their loved ones mausoleum. Once we arrive, we clean the tombs, light up candles, offer flowers, and say a prayer for the souls of the departed.

    manila north

    The largest cemetery in the Philippines is the Manila North Cemetery. This is where some of the country’s past presidents and other politicians are buried. It is also the final resting place of many popular celebrities. (Photo from philippines-travel-guide.com)

    During this time, schools are on their semester break so it is also an opportunity for families to spend time together. Children would play with their cousins as the adults would exchange stories and play cards or mahjong (a game that originated in China). Back in the 80s, flying kites and catching dragonflies were favorite activities among the young. Filipinos, known for their love of singing, also bring guitars to serve as a means of entertainment while at the cemetery.

    As lunchtime approaches, everyone sets the table for the various dishes cooked for that day. It usually includes the deceased loved one’s favorite dish. We place a plate of food in front of the tomb or grave as offering for the soul of our relatives and friends. Priests would also go around the cemetery to offer prayers and bless graves.

    A family gathering around the grave of a loved one is the traditional way of remembrance in this private cmemetery, Saint Park;Cebu City;Philippines

    (Photo from sanantonioabadparish.com)

    Many people go back to their home provinces for All Souls’ Day. If they can’t, they go to the church to light candles. Special masses are also held in memory of the departed.

    Aside from honoring the dead, Filipinos also use this time to unwind. On Oct. 30th or 31st, many establishments and private companies hold a Halloween party. Malls, hotels, and villages also host trick or treat events for the kids. Some Filipinos go to the beach to relax and recharge.

    How do you celebrate All Souls’ Day in your country? Share it with us in the comments below.

    Article by Manette Tuvida

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