I was thinking of death lately because a few close family of mine died in April and one in July. Some were my cousins that I just met a few times in my life. But 2 that were close to my family were my cousins who died last April and a dear person to me died last week of July. He was my brother-in-law. He was the husband of my oldest sister. He is a brother-in-law to me for over 35 years. We had our ups and down as a family. But over all we love each other no matter what. He died of a heat stroke. It really shocked the rest of the family. But we are happy that he did not suffer much.
Why was I talking about death anniversary since my brother-in-law just died? Well, last week was the 3rd year anniversary of my Mom’s death. I felt she just died not too long ago. See here in the Philippines when its death anniversary the family that’s left behind will almost always celebrate. Most of the time the family will have lechon and some other food for a feast. It is a big deal to the family. Some will have a 9 day prayer prior to the day of the date the person died. The ninth day was the big day, some have a big mass, prayer service, then off to the graveyard. Some the ninth day prayer would be there at the grave. Most people now would bring food for the person that died. I mean bring cooked food and offered or put on the top of the grave. It is really a tradition now to some people. But not with my parents.
When I was growing up my parents offered food to the dead during all souls day and all saints day (Coming up on November 1 and 2) but not on the grave. Just at our house. That’s on November 1st & 2nd. We had a lady that came to the house and led the prayer for all the loved ones that died ahead of us. I remember when I was in grade school my sister died. It was really hard on my parents especially my dad. She’s so close to my dad. My sister, she had a disability, she was struck by a polio at a young age. We didn’t expect her to die yet at that time. During her first death anniversary, my parents killed like 2 or 3 pigs. We had a big feast at the house. We had a 9 days prayer and stuff. On the ninth day, that falls on the day she died. We went to her grave and pray and stayed there for like and hour or so talking about her and the memories we had of her. As I recall my parents never brought any food to the grave of my sister. Growing up with my siblings we never experience eating and having party at the grave of my sister or my grandparents. Now with my parents and my sister being buried in one place, we usually go there, it could be during their anniversary or their birthday, we just lit plenty of candles and stayed there at the grave for a few hours talking. Then go home to my sister’s house and have a little party there. Now with my brother-in-law next to my parents and my sister it is easier for the rest of the family to be there and pray.
Some of my family do have the party at the graves. It’s okay, its really the trend now with the new generations. They will stay at the graves overnight drinking and dancing and doing karaoke. I’ve seen during all souls day that too many people get drunk there. Some were even fighting with the other people there. Luckily at the place where my mom was buried they had a lot of security guards that’s roaming around the cemetery area. You can even rent a tent there at the cemetery, I think its around 2 grand. We did rent one during my mom’s first year all souls day celebration. I’ saw so many people partying there. Some graves even have a built-in bedroom with air conditioning at the second floor. That’s for the fancy graveyard.
I remember when I was in Cebu City studying college in the mid 80’s. It was a trend there to have parties at the graves during all souls day and death anniversary. At that time I thought it was just on that part of the country to have that stuff during the all souls day. Maybe more in Manila. At that time I didn’t experience something like that in Mindanao, so I thought it’s that way. Really it might be already a party place for some but it is not big like what they have nowadays. Oh well, Mindanao did catch up with the Visayas region quickly. Nowadays what I saw in Cebu is what I’ve seen now happening here in Mindanao. If they like what they are doing go for it. They had fun and if they don’t bother others why not.
Hey, maybe your part of the country is different than what we are doing here in Mindanao. Feel free to share and we are happy to know what traditions you have in your area.