Among the festive public holidays in the Philippines, I always look forward for undas. Undas in vernacular simply refers to the two public holidays of November - All Saints Day and All Souls Day. People all over the country flock the cemetery to visit departed love ones and spend the entire day and sometimes overnight with the rest of the family.
I never get the chance to do the overnight thing. Strict parental rules. But that's ok. I remember way back during undas at the cemetery the festive air usually start the day before. October 31 is the day when you set up the tents, mark your property line (that is if you don't have your own mausoleum) then the electrical lines, the furniture and other portable appliances that you could squeeze into your tent. Also, the day before the big undas day is the time when wives and girls of different ages will prepare picnic food to take. Whether it would be for a meal or just for pica-pica. Kakanin or the native deliassies are a big hit during this time.
The sort of 'party' start at dusk. When the sun sets and all prayers have been said and candles lit, people with good vantage locations will take their position and start people watching. Or sometimes, will go roam around the area and visit friends and acquantances grave. Booths are set up on some free areas of the cemetery where food are sold even toys are also a big hit specially the ones with the lights.
I miss this. I miss the noise and and I miss the food. But let us not forget the reason for this day. This is the day we particularly celebrate for out departed love ones. Though we visit them and include them in our payers any day and any time of the year, this is their special day.
A thousand miles away from all of this, my husband and I attended the mass and lit candles for our loved ones in celeration of this special day. Minus the usual raucous activity of the cemetery, the church was also packed with church goers, canlde lighters and even kakanins are sold outside.
I guess undas can be anywhere you want it to be. For our dear departed, they will always be in our prayers.