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Monday, October 27, 2008

November Holiday In Philippines

Usually when the last week of October comes, Filipino families are already getting ready to what to do on the first day of November which is All Saints Day and on the second day, the All Souls Day. On the first day, some families already troop to the cemetery to prepare the grave sites of their loved one, instead of doing it on the All Souls day, a lot prefer visit the cemetery ahead of time.
The Filipino citizens treat the 1st and 2nd day of November 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.
There are some beliefs that Filipino people are still doing. Aside from bringing flowers and candles to offer on the graves. Some are also bringing foods to serve on their loved ones grave site. Those foods and drink that they think was the favorite of the one who passed away. At home prayer for the souls are also done. But aside from the praying, preparing foods or like offering foods are also done. The one who are leading for the prayer in sometimes will call the deads name as if they are invited to eat and drinks.
The onset of All Soul's Day in places where the inhabitants are mostly Catholics suggests a deluging in the local markets of assorted candles of colors, shapes and scents and of a variety of flowers freshly picked from a native farm. The hullabaloos in the flea markets reached as far as the super marts and department stores where people can be seen hurrying to and fro, doing a last minute buying of the things they will need in preparing for the occasion. Such a typical Filipino setting indeed and so much like Christmas Eve, the difference is it's not Christmas and it's not for the living. It is All Soul's Day and it's for the dead.

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