14 November 2018
Culture Phillipines

Undas: The Filipino Day of the Dead


Undas: A culture unfeigned

Undas is a local term for All Saints Day in the Philippines. It is celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

This holiday is composed of people visiting their relatives’ graves. They bring snacks, drinks, board games, meals, and even go camping overnight. Truly, this is an unfeigned culture since this has been going for over centuries, starting from its historical Spanish colonialism age.

Easier ride to the afterlife

Individuals who have died are believed to move on to the afterlife more pleasantly when their relatives visit their graves. Similar to the Mexican Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Philippine version is more of a  festivity. In the Philippines, people stay at the grave site over night. Like Mexicans, Filipinos also do not present it as a gloomy day.

Aftershock of festival night

But sadly, not all the days are happy and festive. Traditionally, Nov. 1 is celebrated as happy and glorious, while Nov. 2 would traditionally be a day of mourning for loved ones. But it also calls for another kind of mourning- a mourning for the cemetery. The festivities of night before inevitably leave a devastating heap of trash all around the field.

Undas; Filipino Day of the Dead. Cemetery trash.
Photo credit: Jhon Ocampo

For years on end, this has always been the trend every second of November. In the past, the messes were even worse. But over the years, the Filipinos have developed a sense of responsibility toward the trash. The cemetery management works on finding a way to clean up the place, and often gets the job done in less than a day.

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Jhon Joseph Ocampo

Jhon Joseph Ocampo

I am a college student, experienced in working under different fields such as teaching English as a second language, a content writer, advertisement writing, a product representative, and administrative support. I am confident that I will be able to perform at the top of my abilities and that I can learn more.

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