All Hollows Eve and All Saints Day

Published on October 31, 2022 at 6:20 pm by LEW

This is “All Saints Day”, meaning yesterday evening was “All Hollows Eve” (across the international date line so I am several hours ahead). Or as is said in the United States “Halloween”. However, Halloween tradition here in the Philippines is somewhat different than in the States. I spent a good portion of the evening and night at the cemetery, remembering the those departed form the world.

The word Halloween most likely comes from early European Christian traditions of “all Hallows Eve” meaning the evening before “All Saints Day” on the first of November and “All Souls Day” on the second of November.

Generally speaking, before major events of the Christian calendar, vigils were held on the night before the event. In the Catholic tradition, one prayed for the recently departed, who’s souls had not yet maid it to heaven. This does not technically align with many Protestant beliefs of the afterlife.

In the Philippines one can observe some western tradition of trick or treat, especially with the younger people on October 31st. However the vast majority of people spend the evening at family grave sites remembering the departed and praying for the recently departed.

This years was my first time to be present in the Philippines on Halloween. So it was quite a shift from previous years of handing out treats to children dressed up in costume knocking on my door. This year Halloween was spent in the cemetery.

It should be known this is not as morbid as it sounds. Apart form the prayers, the time is spent remembering the departed in earlier better times. It is also a time of reconnecting with family members that one has not seen for awhile.

Traditions can be wonderful things. However in this day and age there are too many people are doing their best to move away from tradition. In some respect I can understand this desire. However I also understand that traditions are a part of our history, and we should at least honor and remember them. For it is constantly shown that those who do not embrace and learn form history are condemned to repeat the worst of it (paraphrasing George Santayana, from the 1905 Life of Reason).

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