In the Church’s calendar, November 1 is All Saints Day, and November 2 is All Souls Day. In the United States, the 31st of October is Halloween, which is more widely observed, with youngsters dressed as ghosts traveling about the neighborhood collecting candy and other presents. After 350 years of Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines, it is Undas that is extensively celebrated throughout the country.
The Catholic church and other Christian churches celebrate All Saints Day, also known as the Feast of All Saints, on November 1. Many countries, including the Philippines, observe it as a national holiday. Christians commemorate their loved ones who have died the next day, November 2, on All Souls Day.
Undas, on the other hand, takes place during a period when the COVID-19 epidemic is sweeping the country and the world, and the government has restricted all mass gatherings. This includes the large masses who visit cemeteries at this time of year.
This year’s All Saint’s Day is going to be much different from previous years. While the government has had some success in recent months in flattening the curve of new coronavirus infections, numerous limitations remain in place, and health authorities continue to warn citizens that the virus is a severe hazard.
Those interested in continuing the Undas traditions should be able to visit the graves at any time during the month of October before October 31. In the weeks after November 3, they can also pay a visit to their loved ones’ graves. The mayor’s restriction was merely intended to prevent millions of people from converging at the same moment.
Finding safe methods to celebrate the Undas season amid the pandemic is no longer a problem. It’s part of the “new normal” now.
Here are some practices to follow to celebrate Undas during the Pandemic safely:
1. Be Vaccinated
Those who have been fully vaccinated have a higher probability of participating in outdoor activities than those who have not yet been fully immunized. Just make sure you follow any existing health and safety regulations.
So, if you’re going home for the holidays this All Saints Day to visit your relatives in the province, let folks know ahead of time so they can make reservations. Before you may travel, you may be forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
2. Purchase candles and flowers ahead of time
Undas is traditionally observed with candles and flowers. As a result, there is a greater demand for these things in the market during this time of year. Early bird orders are available at a discount. Plus, you won’t be exposed to Covid-19 by standing in long lines in crowded establishments.
3. Bring Camping Equipment
Cemeteries are visited in the same way as day or overnight camping vacations are celebrated in the Philippines. Bring your seats, tables, fans, and lights, as well as a Filipino-style feast of food and beverages. There must be food where two or three Pinoys converge. During these days of remembering, visitors should say yes when given food and beverages whether visiting a tomb, a tent, or even a Filipino’s house.
4. Give offering
Grave branding is another unique and creative way of commemorating the deceased. It’s remembering your deceased loved one’s favorite – his brand of food, cigarette, booze, etc. – and painting it on his grave, according to the average Filipino.
You can even have your loved one’s burial or tomb created while he was still living, according to his preferences. What type of material or color should be utilized in his burial, for example. Something you know your departed loved one would like or enjoy.
5. Offer a prayers
Without serious prayers for the everlasting peace of the faithful dead, the annual celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day will be less significant. This may be done virtually or at home.
6. Light the candles at offer flowers
People pay their respects to their loved ones who have passed away. By placing candles on gravestones and bringing flowers. If you can’t or won’t be able to visit the cemetery, the Catholic Church advises you to burn candles, bring beautiful flowers, and recite the rosary with your family at home.
7. Connect with your far relatives virtually
Undas is usually celebrated as a mini-reunion for family prior to the epidemic. In order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Philippine government continues to prohibit large meetings. As a result, staying in contact with friends and family via group calls and virtual meetups has become an important aspect of the Undas celebration.
8. Stay at home as much as possible and hope that next year will be better
All Saints Day and All Souls Day are two of the country’s most prominent holidays. People take vacations or depart to be with their families and observe Undas together. People are now opting to stay at home for a smaller, more intimate celebration of this year’s Undas, so such mini-reunions in cemeteries may not be possible this year.
Guidelines for a safe visit to the cemetery
Covid-19 has altered the way Filipinos observe their customs. It didn’t stop them from returning home to visit the graves of their loved ones who had passed away. For those planning to pay actual visits to their dearly departed loved ones at cemeteries in 2021 Undas, there are a few government restrictions, travel, and health standards to keep in mind.
1. Bring Sanitizers
To keep your hands clean and virus-free, bring alcohol, hand sanitizers, and other disinfecting chemicals.
2. Be Vigilant
Check the quarantine status of the location where you and your family want to spend the Undas season. People under the age of 18 and over 65, pregnant women, and those with medical issues are still prohibited from going outside in several high-risk regions.
3. Get Vaccinated
If you’ve already had your vaccination shot, this is a good option. You must have the completed immunization cards in order to travel. Some businesses refuse to conduct business with persons who have not been vaccinated.
4. Wear Complete Gears
Although face shields are no longer needed in some areas, opt to use them as your second line of defense against Covid-19 as it is scientifically proven that can prevent droplets effectively rather than face mask alone.
5. Implement Social Distancing
If you must go out in public, practice social distance — that is, keeping physical space around you — by staying at least 6 feet away from other people. Avoid getting together in groups or stay away from swarms of people.
6. Don’t bring prohibited tools
Alcoholic beverages, improvised weapons of any kind, guitars, and other sound systems that might disrupt the calm observance of Undas are not permitted to be brought to the cemetery due to health and safety regulations.
7. Follow rules
Respect any existing curfews. Don’t spend the night at cemeteries as much as you used to. A quick visit to the graveyard as much as possible is ideal.
These are the safety advice and guidelines you should follow this Undas in the new normal setting to keep yourself and your family safe.
In light of the upcoming Holidays, we would like to inform you that Bria’s offices won’t be available until November 2. We assure you that all your concerns will be addressed as soon as we return to the office.
Written by Aaron Cruz