Halloween and Such

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? πŸ™‚

6 thoughts on “Halloween and Such

  1. Halloween usually means I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo, especially since I started heading the Filipino participants back in 2006. I’m usually scrambling for plot and stories the day before and then chatting the night away with other writers. I used to have Halloween parties as a kid, though but it was never that grand.

    We also visit the cemetery during this time, too, but we never stayed overnight. We’d just visit, pray the rosary, and then go home and light some candles at night again. Since it’s November 1 then, I’d be writing as much as I can to log in my word count.

    Yeah, November pretty much turns me into a noveling geek. πŸ˜›

    • Haha is it a coincidence that NaNoWriMo is scheduled on Halloween or you guys really want to write around this time?

      I don’t think I ever attended Halloween parties as a kid. In college, I was able to attend a couple of costume parties for Halloween but there wasn’t any trick or treating in those.

  2. Do you guys celebrate El dia de los muertos since you celebrate Todos los santos? I’m assuming no since you didn’t mention it. Have you ever wanted to carve a pumpkin or dress up? I always wonder if people from other countries think it’s a cool holiday or a weird one. πŸ˜€

    • Hey Carin, I have no idea what El dia de los muertos is so no, we don’t celebrate it over here. πŸ™‚ You know what, it’s funny because I just saw carved squash earlier today. Anyway, I’ve tried dressing up for Halloween a couple of times and it’s fun.

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