On November 1, All Saints’ Day, it is a tradition for Filipinos to visit the graves of our relatives. The Wife and I went to see the graves of her parents who died last year. While we drove around the cemetery, we saw Filipinos cleaning graves, placing flowers in vases, and doing the Electric Slide. Wait, what?
Yes, that’s right, doing the Electric Slide! There was a band playing in the cemetery, and some folks were doing the Electric Slide to their music. All Saints’ Day, Filipino style, is a festive occasion. While the official Catholic celebration for the dead who aren’t saints is supposed to happen on All Souls’ Day, November 2, Filipinos start the celebration a day early (quite possibly the only thing that Filipinos do early). Notice that this ad for the All Soul’s Day is in the entertainment section!
Many people had set up tables and canopies, eating lots of food, hanging out, and having a good time. Cedar Lawn Cemetery, located at the border between Fremont and Milpitas, has many Filipinos buried there. With the large Filipino population in the area, the traditional practices are continued and accepted by the cemetery. We saw a number of our Filipino friends and co-workers who were also visiting the graves of their relatives.
This was my first time at an All Saints Day cemetery celebration, as my immediate family doesn’t have any deceased close relatives buried in the US. We arrived late in the day to visit, so we couldn’t stay too long. Next year, I think we are going to come earlier and have a picnic!
(photo credit: Live In the Philippines Web Magazine)