October 31 means that fun Halloween activities are in store for kids, particularly in gated villages, malls, offices, and other establishments. Kids and adults alike dress up in different costumes to go trick or treating for tons of candy. Halloween parties are popular, too — a chance for people to get creative with their choice of outfit/costume for the day, while mingling and having fun with friends. Our family transferred to a new village last year, and apparently Halloween isn’t celebrated here. Thinking about it, I miss the Halloween decors and meeting neighbors in Halloween costumes.
On another note, November 1 and 2 are special days for Filipino families. It is a well-known fact that Filipino families are mostly tight-knit and that any occasion or celebration calls for an instant family reunion. Quite remarkably, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are celebrated in the Philippines by going back to the graves of their deceased loved ones as a whole family unit.
Our family is no different. Ever since I could remember, we would all go to the cemetery on the night of the 31st to visit the graves of our family members who have already passed away. We would set up camp and spend a night or two at the cemetery. Sounds scary, huh? Well, if you’re surrounded by thousands of families, the place turns into a park, and spooky won’t be a word to describe the experience.
I have lots of fond memories at the cemetery (it kinda sounds weird, haha!!). There were two consecutive years wherein my siblings and cousins met the children from the family camping near us and we played the whole day from morning till they had to go home. They were from Bacolod, so I think that allowed a very slight connection to start among the adults of the families. Another fond memory was when my good friend JJ went trick or treating with us in my previous village. He went with my family to the cemetery too. This was a few years back and I think that Halloween was one of the big factors why he is a really close friend(we call each other bro and sis!:)). A funny thing that I always hear is “Sa pang-(insert number here) na puno, bilang ka ng (insert number here) na hakbang” which translates to “On the Nth tree, count N steps” and people understood what it means — the location of the family’s “spot”. 😛
“Sa pang-(insert number here) na puno, bilang ka ng (insert number here) na hakbang”
We visited again today, but no more overnight camping for us. It’s kinda sad that our nieces and nephews will not get to experience one amazing and interesting part of our childhood. Nonetheless, we got to meet extended families again today which is always awesome.
How do you spend your Halloween? Have you ever slept at the cemetery? Share your most interesting, scary, or fun UNDAS (Halloween season) experience at the comment box below! I’d love to hear from you!
Happy Halloween! (and Happy Undas! :D)