This week is one of the biggest holiday weeks of the year here in the Philippines. Probably the only week with more holidays than this week is Holy Week (the week before Easter). Out of the normal 5 day week, there are 3 holidays this week! That’s right. Monday was election day for Barangay and SK elections here in the Philippines, and election day is an official holiday, so there was no school, and most businesses were closed. Tuesday and Wednesday are normal work days. All Saint’s Day is Thursday, November 1. Friday, November 2 is All Soul’s Day. Both Thursday and Friday are National Holidays, and virtually every store will be closed during this time. On Wednesday, as the eve of All Saint’s Day, many workers will work only a half day.
For All Saint’s and All Soul’s Days, many Filipinos will travel back to the Province where they came from. Starting on November 1, Filipino families will head to the cemeteries around the country to grieve for family members who have passed on ahead of them. Actually, grieve may be the wrong word for this, because it is really more of a celebration or a party. I can’t say that I fully understand the ritual, although I am aware of the goings on. People will actually bring chairs, tables, tents and such to the cemetery and they will “camp out” there for a couple of days. They will bring lots of food too – no celebration or holiday in the Philippines is complete without food! Plenty of people will bring beer or other types of drinks to the cemetery too, although I am not sure if that is really accepted. Whether drinking during this occasion is acceptable or not, lots of people do it. People will also bring boom boxes to play tunes at the cemetery. They will sing, dance and party the time away, right there at the grave sites of their ancestors.
Another ritual that I find interesting is that people will also “feed the dead.” What I mean is that they will get a plate, fill it with food, and leave it on the grave, so that the dead can also enjoy the party. It is very strange to me, but I know that this happens. I am quite sure that there are many other rituals that will be done as well, things that I have no idea about.
All of this is very foreign to me and my culture. It doesn’t affect me a great deal, though, because Feyma is not into this activity. So, we tend to just live our normal life during this time. Feyma does sometimes take a trip to visit her Father’s grave during this time, but just for a short visit, not a party or anything.
Well, I better go now… got to gear up for the holidays! 🙂