In the Philippines, All Saint’s Day (including All Soul’s Day) is considered a very important holiday by many Filipinos, probably next to Christmas and Holy Week. Celebrated on the 1st of November, All Saint’s Day, “Undas” or “Todos Los Santos” in the vernacular, has become more of a family reunion to commemorate the dead.
It is the time of the year when tombs are cleaned and painted, candles lit and flowers are offered and families flocked in cemeteries to spend the day or night with their departed loved ones.
Donna and I were among the thousands of people who trooped to the cemetery last November 1. We went to her father’s tomb (her father, brother and grandparents are buried in the same tomb) at the Manila South Cemetery in Makati City. We initially planned to go to the cemetery on the 31st but because of the threat of a super typhoon hovering in the country, we decided to go the next day instead.
I haven’t seen so many deaths in my age. I have been to funerals of my grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, distant relatives and friends but never within my immediate family; which is something that I am thankful for. Although, I understand that death is a fact of life. We have to thank and relish every minute that we spend with our loved ones.
The last couple of days have afforded me the chance not just to remember the dead but to celebrate life and it also prompted me to reflect on what it means to live in this world. The truth is no one will live forever. The time will come when our friends and loved ones will remember us during All Soul’s Day or they will visit us in our tombs.
Although we avoid thinking about it, the fact that we know our time will come should teach us how to fully live our lives. Recognizing that we have limited time in this world, we should be prompted to care more for this world and for the people around us. We should start managing our lives and try to live a happy and meaningful life.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Posted by Leo Mar at 6:59 AM