October 31, 2008

Trick or treat

As a mostly Catholic country, the Philippines does not really celebrate Halloween. We observe All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2), and many Filipinos will be trooping to the cemeteries this weekend. Many who work in Metro Manila but are from other provinces have started traveling to their hometowns this afternoon. The way Filipinos remember their dearly departed shock a lot of people from other cultures. During this weekend, our cemeteries will be like huge picnic grounds—family reunions with food and drink and children playing games. Most people will have more than one family member—extended family, not just immediate—buried in the same cemetery, so people will be walking around too, trying to visit all their loved ones. Prayers will be offered of course, but mostly, people will be telling stories about those who have passed on—especially the hilarious ones, so there will be lots of laughter too. Honestly, we're even like this during wakes (unless the death was violent or the one who died was still a child). Don't think of it as irreverent. Rather, think of it as a celebration of life—that of the one who has passed away, and that which we continue to live right now. So it's a quiet night in Metro Manila tonight. Except in some exclusive subdivisions (the term we use to refer to gated communities) which organize trick-or-treating for the children of families who live there. As a sign that a household is participating—that it has treats for the kids—the house has to be decorated for Halloween. The kids in Magallanes Village in Makati City are probably going around right now. I hope they reach this house—the family not only decorated the balcony and pedestrian gate, but the gate to the garage and even the street corner!

house in Magallanes Village decorated for Halloween

17 comments:

angela said...

I like the idea of the whole family picnicking round the graves. It's an excellent way of remembering those who've died.
In spite of marketing Halloween has never really taken off in France either..

Olivier said...

de belles décorations pour Halloween. Beaucoup de pays ne fête Halloween, en France cela disparait (c'était a la mode pendant 2/3 ans et après plus grand chose), je regrette c'était une raison de faire la fête.

beautiful decorations for Halloween. Many countries do not celebrate Halloween in France it disappears (it was a fashion for 2 / 3 years and after more great thing), I regret it a reason make the festival.

Layrayski said...

I like your prelude to your photo of the day, Hilda. I really like the way you write.

In Butuan we only remember to celebrate halloween (maybe this is only specific to my case) during school days, esp in high school because we make halloween as an opportunity to hold school dances. Kinda like acquaintance party sort of thing. =)

I'm excited tomorrow. We're off to the cemetery. I hope I'll be able to get good pics. I have blogged about All Soul's day at myspace last year and I hope to do it again this year. (oops sorry nag mini blog na ako.)

Jilly said...

What a beautifully decorated house - subtle, not overdone. I love it. Nice photograph.

hadv said...

No Halloween here either. Just the usual drinking and eating and sharing stories (just the way you described it) and the sweeping and weeding and painting white activities. Don't expect a photo of that in my blog though.. I'm not stepping on cemetery grounds :-|

Halcyon said...

I love the Halloween decorations and the bannana/palm trees together. Somehow tropical plants just don't say Halloween to me. :)

Glad that Manilla is getting into the spirit though! Happy Halloween!!!

marley said...

I like all these decorations. I'll be round later for a treat!

I'm not sure I fancy picnicing in a cemetry but I can see why people go. I like the idea of celebrating a loved ones life :)

JM said...

First of all, I would never say this shot was taken there, but somewhere in Florida because of the tropical flora. In a country, like mine, where Halloween is not celebrated, I can imagine how very eye-catching that house must be! :-)
Love the railings along the outside wall, as well as the gate and pillars! They show some Deco influence, I think.

Steve Buser said...

I love the picnic idea. Why can't a cemetary be the place to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on. In some communities around here, they place candles on the graves of relatives -- dozens of candles on each grave, so that the cemetary is one giant luminaire. It is an amazing site.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Your visit to the cemeteries on this day is interesting. We have or used to have what was called Decoration Day which was a time to visit the cemetery, say prayers, decorate the graves or relatives and friends and clean up around the tombstones. Then our government changed it to Memorial Day and the whole idea changed with it. People don't do all the things they used to do. Another example of government messing with the lives of the people.

Well, we have an election coming up and my wife and I have already voted for Obama.

The economy is so bad here that handing out candy to kids on trick or treat night was skimpy. Some blame it on George W. Bush and the ruined economy he provoked.

Dina said...

I like these customs as you describe them.

metromanila said...

What a nicely decorated house. I wonder how it would look for the Christmas season.

Webradio said...

Very pretty for Halloween !

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" appreciates learning of the Philippine way of remembering their departed. Blessings to you and your family as you remember your departed this All Saints Day.

melanie said...

De très chaudes couleurs pour un lieu où l'on rencontre tant de vies entre les pages des livres.

babooshka said...

It has been an eyee opener to me to see how halloween is around the world. This is very stylish in a creppy way.

HZDP said...

yes, we Chinese don't celebrate Hollyween as well, but as you have 'all souls day' and 'all saints day', we have some kind of "ghost days", on the lunar calenda they are march the third, the tomb sweeping day, July the fifteenth and October the first, but they are all on the lunar calenda, which means the dates are different from the typical calenda. :)