Planning for All Souls Day in the Philippines

5 July 2018 • Funeral Planning

5 Things to Prepare for All Souls’ Day in the Philippines

All Souls’ Day, which falls on November 2 every year, is often a special non-working holiday in the Philippines. Being a predominantly Catholic country, the Philippines celebrates All Souls’ Day as part of its religious and cultural tradition. It has become a common practice for Filipinos to visit their deceased loved ones’ grave on this holiday.

The practice of visiting graves starts from a week before All Souls’ Day. In some Catholic churches, novena masses and prayers are offered for the souls of the dead the whole month of November.  

How to Prepare for All Souls’ Day in the Philippines

Here are 5 things to do if you are observing All Souls’ Day in the Philippines:

1. Schedule your trips weeks before All Souls’ Day itself.

Expect fully booked flights and buses during All Souls’ Day and the weekends before and after this holiday. Filipinos often take this opportunity to go home to their provinces to visit not just the grave of their deceased loved ones, but also their families. If you are travelling on these dates, plan your schedule and book your trip ahead of time.

Cemeteries are often crowded on the 1st and 2nd of November. If you want to avoid crowds, you can also visit a week before or after these dates.

2. Clean the grave site.

A few days before All Souls’ Day itself, it would be good to prepare the grave site itself by cleaning it, decorating it with flowers, your loved one’s photo or mementos, and candles that you will be offering. That’s because graves are usually visited by entire families and friends of the deceased.

For many Filipinos, All Souls’ Day is even a mini family reunion as relatives coming from different places take a break from their jobs or from school so they can celebrate it. It is a common practice for Filipinos to spend hours or sometimes even a night on their loved one’s grave. Some families have a mausoleum where all their late family members are buried.

3. Offer prayers.

If you or your deceased loved one is a Catholic, you can offer prayers and masses in honor of the deceased in any Catholic church. Just go to the church’s office and request a mass intention for your late loved one. Catholic church offices are typically open from Tuesday to Sunday and are closed on Mondays.

4. Expect prices of flowers and candles to go up.

Flowers and candle prices go up during the week of All Souls’ Day, especially if you’re buying from the areas near the the cemetery. If you want to save money, it is best to purchase your candles from the supermarket and fresh flowers from the market. Alternatively, you can also use artificial or paper flowers.

5. Revisit memories.

The most important part of All Souls’ Day is remembering your deceased loved ones. This is the perfect time to go through their photos, videos, or special mementos they left behind. Whether you are visiting your loved ones’ grave with your family or commemorating at home, take a moment to recall your favorite memories with them. While it’s a day dedicated to the dead, All Souls’ Day is really about celebrating life and reminding us to cherish our own.

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