All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are an integral part of many a Filipino family’s annual calendars, particularly for the Catholics and Christians who make up approximately 85% of the population.
While All Saints’ Day is a special day to commemorate the saints in heaven, All Souls’ Day or Araw ng mga Patay is an occasion that is more “close to home.” On this day, Filipinos remember their dead loved ones through prayer and by offering flowers. It is also often an occasion for relatives to get together, thus it is a tradition that must be passed on to our children not only to teach the value of prayer but also to foster close family relations.
Here are some ideas to make your family’s commemoration of All Souls’ Day more meaningful:
1. Offer up prayers and masses. This is probably something most of us are already doing. For Catholics, it is believed that the offering of masses and prayers are especially beneficial for the souls in purgatory i.e. they are offered to ease whatever suffering and pain they are in. When going to mass as a family, especially on All Souls’ Day, try to make it extra meaningful by preparing your kids beforehand i.e. explaining the rites to them; showing them who it is you’re offering Mass for; etc.
2. Offer flowers and light candles at the cemetery. This is another common practice among Filipino families. This year though, try to get the kids more involved by having them help prepare flower wreaths or garlands, and choosing the candles that you will be lighting.
3. Revisit photos and videos of your deceased loved ones. Instead of focusing on the sadness of their passing though, rejoice in the fact that they have returned “home” to heaven (or if you believe in purgatory, at least they’re halfway there!). Keeping them alive in your family’s memory is one of the best tributes you could offer them. This would be a wonderful time to speak of them to your kids with fondness and love.