Today we celebrate All Soul’s Day. The day when we are supposed to commemorate our dearly departed loved ones. In the past week, we celebrated Halloween, a foreign celebration that has slowly crept in to the Filipino consciousness. Recently, the CBCP urged people that instead of donning frightening costumes during Halloween, Filipinos should wear super hero costumes or better yet imitate saints since our country celebrates All Saint’s Day and not Halloween. They were afraid that the scary costumes will create traumatic experiences in the child and the apparent glorification of frightening characters will pay homage to the evil side of the world.
Growing up, I was never aware that Halloween ever existed in the Philippines. I would read about it in foreign books and watch about it in movies but I’ve always known that trick or treat and Halloween costumes were for the kids in the West. But I guess capitalism has found its way in our shores in yet another form – Halloween. Halloween gives us another reason to spend on costumes and parties and find a way to celebrate a merry occasion without much regard to the roots or meaning of it. It’s as if all the festivals and fiestas in our country is not enough that we have to still find another reason for celebration during October 31.
Cemetery visits on the other hand have moved from becoming the once solemn and peaceful visits they used to be to a venue for merry making and for some, income generation. A trip to the cemetery on November 1 would be like a visit to a bustling night market where street foods of all variations abound. The cemetery likewise is filled with kids running around and adults taking and laughing boisterously. There are also foods and music in some unrestrained places. Filipinos have yet found another reason to celebrate and be merry.
The adoption of Halloween parties and the merry making in cemeteries is yet another testament to the positive and merry Filipino spirit. Despite the challenges we all face, we always find time to celebrate and be happy. In the end, I guess there is nothing wrong with celebrating Halloween, so long as we know that it is just for fun and nothing to be serious about. Likewise, it should be that parents must always educate their children about the celebration. I believe that a sound explanation of all these gory costumes and how belief in the Lord Jesus makes us victors against them, would instill in the kids that there is nothing to be afraid of because we have the power to conquer the evil in this world.
Also, I guess that if it does get rowdy in the cemetery at times, then we should just respect those who choose to have a party in celebration of the demise of their dearly departed. After all, they must be probably happy that the dead loved one is now in a better place. For those seeking the solitude and solemnity of the celebration, I believe there is always November 2 and every other day of the year to visit graves in full solitude and commemorate the lives of the dearly departed.