Halloween and All Saints/Souls’ Day – Compared
11by: Rheynolds R. Gaylan

The Halloween celebration in the United States is observed every evening of November 1. Through myth and legend, this national holiday can be traced to the religious festivals of the druids – an order of priests or teachers of ancient Celtic religion. The Celts describes this carnival, a time when humans could enter the other world and the supreme inhabitants of that world could come into ours. They also believed that fiends, witches and evil spirits roamed the earth on the eve of October 31. Bonfires were lit to drive away the spirits of the dead. And to further protect themselves from getting tricked by these bad spirits, the druids offered them good food to eat. They also disguised themselves so that the spirits would think they were members to their evil company. The druids thought that the phantoms surely wouldn’t harm their own comrades. And thus the U.S. celebrates the Halloween by playing “trick or treats”, masquerading in costumes and wearing masks.
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Dipolog Cemetery-Getting ready for the All Souls Day-Dipolognon clean their graves
  
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Entrance to the Dipolog City Cemetery
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Flower vendor line up the entrance of Dipolog City Cemetery

In the Philippines, Halloween is equivalent to the Roman Catholic Church’s belief recognizing the first day of November to be a day to pay homage and honor to all the saints – particularly those who do not have a special day
of their own. Their special day is known as All Saints’, or All Hallows’, Day. Saints are known as the hallowed, or holy, ones. All Saints’ Day is an important feast of the Filipinos and the Roman Catholic Church. Families gather and visit the graves of their ancestors to pray, sing and eat the favorite foods of their dead relatives (Our deceased are considered saint). They mourn all night and conduct religious devotions on such an eve.


Furthermore, there is another contributing factor that enables Christians to extend the holiness of the celebration. This comes a day after All Saints’ Day and that is All Souls’ Day.
All Souls’ Day is commemorated every November 2 and is also observed by visits to the cemeteries. People bring flowers, foods and pictures of the dead. In some places, there are all-night vigils and requiem masses that are offered for the souls of the faithful departed. Respect for the dead makes this one of the Philippines most solemn days.

The difference between Halloween and All Saints’ Day is that each is observed in its own special way. People look back and remember their ancestors, the pumpkins of fall, how the events moved them to wear outrageous costumes, or how joyous the feastings were. Festivals like these give emphasis to the importance of life as well as of death.  (Look for the title with your mouse and click on it)

 

  

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