“Undas”, or what Pinoys collectively refer to with the special days of All Saint’s Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (Nov 2) commemorating their loved ones and relatives who have passed away.
As a predominantly Catholic nation, Filipinos have a lot of culture and traditions that goes with remembering deceased friends and family on this holiday.
While westerners would generally not be comfortable spending much time in the graveyard, Filipinos celebrate Undas by gathering as a family around the gravemarkers of their loved ones. Most would bring blankets or picnic mats, matched with chairs, tables, and food - a family reunion of sorts. Some would even do an overnight in the cemetery.
Now knowing these, here are some Undas Essentials you should not forget:
1. Come Prepared with Flowers & Candles
If you’re going to the cemetery, come prepared by bringing your own candles and matches / lighter and buying your offertory flowers in advance.
While many enterprising Pinoys sell flowers and candles conveniently at the cemetery entrance, the law of supply and demand can surely jack-up the prices. Prepare ahead and save on a budget
2. Going to Church
There are some religious families who include a church visit in their itinerary before or after going to the cemetery. They hear Mass and spend time to pray for loved ones who have died. This is also a preferred alternative when visiting the cemetery is not possible.
3. Getting A Memorial Plan
While the occasion is for those who have already passed away. The occasion also reminds us that we all are going to pass away in the future - something certain that we all have to go through. So this is also the best time to consider, plan, and talk about these matters such as Death Care.
A Life Plan or a Memorial Plan is a prepaid service that includes the following:
a memorial service
and other related benefits, oftentimes including insurance
This enables the plan holder to prepare for future “expected memorial needs – at a cost that is substantially lower than when availed of as needed.”
4. Bring Other Necessities
As mentioned before the list, some families bring food and gather around the tombstone for a few hours or so. Plan ahead the food different relatives will bring to the gathering so there would be no overlap. The assignments should cover food, snacks, drinks, coolers, blankets, and even trash bags so no trash is left in the cemetery. Have a first-aid kit ready as well.
5. Weather Whether
Being a tropical country, a rainshower during “Undas” is actually common as this is the Amihan season of typhoons and storms. Check the weather forecast. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella, or better yet, a big gazebo tent. A rechargeable fan would also be handy in case the weather turns around and gets sunny instead.
6. Cemetery Etiquette
When visiting the gravesite, whether voluntary or forced out of traditional necessity, make sure not to step on a gravemarker. This is not only disrespectful to the dead, but is said to bring bad luck.
7. Undas Covid Pandemic Protocols
While the pandemic restrictions are now at a minimum, it is still pandemic nonetheless, bring your vaccination card/s in case the local police or authorities check up on you. Add to that your usual covid-19 pandemic protocols such as face masks, social distancing, and proper handwashing / alcohol / hand sanitizers.
This is also a good time to discuss, talk, and consider on how to get a St. Peter Memorial Plan soon in preparation for the future, so when that time comes, we don’t financially burden our loved ones who will be left behind.