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It was a quiet Saturday morning last week, as I say at my computer sending my Nap story to Sir Bob. I heard scurrying throughout the house, as preparation were being made to head off to the bone yards to observe the “Day of the Dead, All Souls Day, All Saints Day which it is based upon the Spanish “El Día de los Muertos” I first learned of the way it was conducted while in Spain, and saw it again in Puerto Rico, many Caribbean Islands and in Central and South America, plus the US South West and Florida, and anywhere with a good sized Latino population, and of course here in the Philippines.
In each section of the World that I have been, it is celebrated in many and varying ways according to local customs. In Puerto Rico and South America, it is first of course a religious day. But the night before, it is treated as a Holiday with music, dancing and strong drink. Here in the Philippines it is far more subdued and more of a family day held in reverence for their dear departed.
There is the cleaning of the grave yards, the repainting of the “Grave Signs” (head stones), plus the maintenance of the crypts. It was pointed out to me that drink was forbidden; albeit it does happen sometimes, but a far cry from my memories of the day from long ago, Halloween in the US is the substitute for this day. For reasons I don’t understand.
So my wife and daughter are preparing themselves with the rest of the family to make the trek to the two cemeteries where their dear departed are interned. The old one in Olongapo City on the Zig Zag heading to the Barrio, and the one within walking distance here in Tipo Bataan. The Olongapo is reserved for the morning visit, in the afternoon the car will be parked and a procession to the Grave Yard will take place on foot bring vast quantities of food and (SOFT) drink, this will last until sunset, when the Grave yard will be returned to the domain of the “White Ladies”.
Paul the Kano will choose to remain at Casa Mayang, to read and sleep the day away, I was raised Catholic but this day belongs to my family and not me. Yes other Kanos will choose to attend and I say that is well and good, a decision best left up to them and theirs. Now if I was in Puerto Rico… that would be a horse of a different color…
I have always considered this the real beginning of Filipino Christmas as the following week the preparations really get started. The merchants started back in July but they are only in it for the Pesos.
It’s well over now let the Christmas Season begin. Oh I have permission from the US Senate to refer to it as Christmas once more I was so tired of the term, “Holiday trees” anyway. It’s funny how the other side believes in unicorns and rainbows but nor reindeer.