Pinoys are already starting to plan out their annual Halloween gathering 30 days from now and we can’t wait! If you are visiting the country for the first time during Halloween, here are 10 things you should know about how Filipinos celebrate Halloween.
Filipinos do not do trick or treating
We do, but it is not the main event. Trick or treats only happen in events but it is usually a taboo tradition in most residences. Filipinos do not really participate in giving candies and chocolates to random kids which saves us from unnecessary spending.
Halloween begins a week before it officially starts
Like any occasion, Filipinos like extending celebrations because, for us, Halloween breaks are to be looked forward to. Unlike many countries, we do not spend our week preparing costumes for events; rather, we shop for ingredients at the grocery store to prepare for our much-awaited family reunion.
It is a week-long family reunion
During Halloween, we visit our dead family members and meet the rest of the clan at the cemetery. It then becomes a family gathering wherein we talk and reminisce about the life of the fallen member. It is somewhat our way of honoring their lives.
Halloween is not limited to souls
In the Philippines, Halloween is not only limited to dead souls. We also have Philippine folklore about tikbalang, capri, aswang, manananggal and a lot more!
We offer food to the dead
This Chinese tradition is not a belief that all Filipinos do, but some still leave fruits on top of the headstone because what is a family reunion if these souls are not invited to eat? Right? They get hungry, too!
Halloween gatherings are family picnics
Reunions don’t happen without food. So, us, being Filipinos and able to make life easier, bring trays of cooked dishes to the cemetery, gather around the headstone and pass on the prepared meals. Other companies even build food stalls in cemeteries to add to the party!
Halloween parties are a corporate event
Some homes in other foreign countries host Halloween parties in their houses and this means dancing, drinking and partying all night. Here in the Philippines, Halloween is a family gathering and sometimes a corporate thing. Most BPO companies host Halloween parties. However, some companies make no big deal about it.
Candles sell the fastest
It is a belief that praying for the soul is more effective when you light a candle. It has no religious reference but a plain tradition only. However, this is beneficial to businesses whose primary products are candles.
The souls will come to visit you
Filipinos have this notion that if you do not go to the cemetery to visit your dead relatives, they will come to visit you at your house. Nobody wants to stay at home all night long while Halloween specials play on the TV!
Families pay for prayers
It is an odd practice to pay priests to pray for dead souls, but that is how it is in the Philippines being the biggest Catholic country in Southeast Asia. In the cemeteries, masses are held and are open for prayer requests from families who believe that their loved ones are still in the purgatory. They pray for the souls to get to heaven and pay pennies for each prayer.