All Saints and All Souls Day 2023

By: Patricia Soberano

As the year progresses, All Saints’ and Souls’ Day, a day of reflection and remembrance, draws nearer. This yearly event, which is observed on November 1st and 2nd, is a chance for us to remember our loved ones who have passed away as well as honor the saints in our history. In remembrance of the deceased, families come together in either their RFO house and lot or visit cemeteries, to light candles and offer prayers.

This article will essentially discuss everything about All Saints and Souls Day 2023—from traditions, preparations, and expectations.

Why Do We Need to Celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day?

In several regions of the world, All Saints’ and Souls’ Days, which are commemorated on November 1st and 2nd, respectively, have great cultural and religious significance. Although the traditions and practices might vary, the purpose of these days—honoring and remembering our deceased loved ones remains the same.

These days merely give us the chance to remember our ancestors, loved ones, and friends who have passed. We can simply reconnect with traditional practices that have been passed down through the generations at our RFO house and lot when we observe these days. We also take part in a shared cultural memory that ties us to our ancestors, whether it is by lighting candles, visiting graves, or cooking favorite recipes of those who have died.

This particular holiday is known as “Undas” in the Philippines. In addition, All Souls Day is traditionally observed as a family holiday in the country as well. Filipinos come together on this day to remember and pay respect to their deceased relatives and other family members.

Although not everyone does this tradition as much as before, it is evident that some families still often get together. It is believed that visiting loved ones’ graves improves family ties and creates a space for exchanging memories and support among family members. It also enables us to show one another support during difficult times and acknowledge our enduring love for the dead.

Meanwhile, All Saints Day, which is commemorated on November 1, honors all the Church’s martyrs, or those faithfully departed who have made their way to heaven, in contrast to All Souls’ Day on November 2, which remembers those who have passed away who have not yet entered paradise.

Regardless of the fact that All Saints’ Day is a holiday honoring both well-known and little-known saints, the Roman Catholic tradition places a greater focus on widely recognized saints because it is likely that many people have already entered heaven.

How Is All Saints Day Celebrated?

There are many ways to spend the Feast of All Saints Day comfortably at your own RFO house and lot, and with our family as November 1 is still regarded as a non-working national holiday in the Philippines:

1. Attend Virtual Church Services

Now that many churches offer online services, you can attend All Saints Day Mass or other religious events from the convenience of your home. For as long as you attend mass in gratitude for God’s blessing and to honor the saints, it doesn’t matter whatever option you and your family find to be more convenient and secure.

2. Create a Prayerful Atmosphere

Play soothing music, set up a special area for prayer or meditation, and light candles or fragrances. You can concentrate on the spiritual element of the day with this.

3. Visit Your Family Altar

This is an ideal time to pay respects if your home has a family altar. You may place candles, flowers, and pictures of your deceased loved ones on the altar. Spend some time in prayer and silent meditation, appreciating them for being in your life.

How Is All Souls Day Celebrated?

In the Philippines, the celebration of All Souls Day is a special national holiday. Filipinos used to go to the cemetery and remember their deceased loved ones on November 1st, even though the calendar indicates that the Souls Day date is on November 2.

1. Cemetery visits

The visit to our loved ones’ final resting places is the essence of All Souls’ Day. Although many individuals visit graves on November 1st, some people decide to travel earlier or later in the month.

Nonetheless, it is necessary that you make sure you have already cleaned and prepared the burial location, eliminating any trash or overgrown vegetation. You can also bring decorations, such as flowers, candles, and memorabilia.

2. Prepare their favorite food

Bringing food and offerings for the deceased is usual. During All Saints and All Souls Day, family “mini” reunions take place when some people travel back to their provinces to visit their ancestors’ cemeteries. Filipinos typically take advantage of this opportunity to prepare and cook meals that the entire family may enjoy. Likewise, some families cook their deceased loved ones’ favorite meals in memory of them. As such, you might decide to prepare or bake the foods you like the most and serve them to your family.

3. Light candles and offer prayers

It is customary to light candles as a gesture of remembering. And of course, praying for the dead is the main reason for celebrating All Souls Day. Candles are typically lit and prayers are spoken for the deceased when Filipinos visit a loved one’s grave.

What to Expect During All Saints Day and All Souls Day?

1. Crowded Cemeteries

During this time, cemeteries frequently have a bustling crowd of visitors. The number of people will likely increase, especially during the peak periods. To avoid traffic or long queues, it would be wise to make the appropriate plans for your visit.

2. Traffic and Transportation

Consider taking public transit or carpooling to reduce congestion since traffic around cemeteries might be heavy. Make sure you allow enough time for your visit because it can take longer than you anticipate.

3. Community Spirit

Communities frequently get together around this time of year. Near cemeteries, you are likely to find a variety of merchants selling food, candles, and flowers. It would be nice to contribute to your neighborhood every once in a while and give small businesses your support.

Read more: Getting Ready for the Ber Months

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