It’s funny how we absorb a certain culture’s traditions based on pop culture. Halloween is not a Philippine holiday and I highly doubt that people here even know the reason for the celebration. Most of what Filipinos know are carried over through TV shows or movies, we know that it’s time for ghosts and scary things and it’s a time for dressing up in costumes. Trick or treating is not even that common here. Halloween has its roots in the festival of Samhain, which celebrates the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year”. This isn’t even applicable to us! We don’t have the four seasons that other countries have so we don’t have a lighter or darker half of the year. Also, we don’t have pumpkins. We have kalabasa (squash), which is different.
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Locally, what we traditionally have is Undas or Todos los Santos (literally “All Saints”) is observed as All Souls’ Day on November 1. This day and the one before and one after it is spent visiting the graves of deceased relatives, where prayers and flowers are offered, candles are lit and the graves themselves are cleaned, repaired and repainted. People even have sleepovers in cemeteries when they do visit. I’ve never done that because my parents didn’t have that tradition in their own provinces so it wasn’t passed down to us. But we do visit the resting places of our relatives.
I just wanted to share my thoughts about this holiday in case some of you are wondering. So no, I don’t have a costume for this Halloween but yes, I’ll be visiting a cemetery and two columbaries. What about you, what are your plans for this Halloween? 🙂