The World Celebrates Halloween, While we "Undas" in Pinas

Source: Cebu Daily News

The last day of October, known worldwide as Halloween, gives you trills and screams. From horror movies, series, horror booths, trick or treating and partying, kids and adults alike will sure enjoy it.

In Cebu, many establishments and retail shops have set up horror booths. Cinemas have started playing horror movies (Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis, anyone?) And of course, there is the religious aspect to it because Halloween is celebrated right before All Saints’ Day (celebrated on the first of November) and All Souls’ Day (celebrated every the 2nd of November). In the Philippines, we refer to these two holidays as “Undas”.

How do Pinoys spend the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day?


All Saints Day’s is a day to celebrate all the Catholic saints that were canonized by the Vatican. Masses are normally heard on this day. It is also the day when cemeteries would start cramming up in preparation for the November 2, All Souls’ Day.

On All Souls’ Day, families remember their loved ones. This is quite similar to the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican holiday where they celebrate the dead. Dia de los Muertos is also celebrated on November 2. Coco, the 2017 Pixar film was set during the Dia de los Muertos.

The Filipino version of the Dia de los Muertos is more subdued and sombre. People visit the graves of their dead loved ones. They clean up the tombstones, and apply fresh paint. Unwanted weeds are also pulled out.

People light candles and place flowers on their loved ones’ graves too.

Filipino families also prepare the dead loved one’s favorite dish to commemorate them.

Then there are the masses and prayers of course. We offer masses and prayers to those who have departed.

Dos and Don'ts in the Cemetery


If you're going to visit your loved ones in cemetery, here are some dos and don'ts:

  • Bring water.
  • Respect other families who are praying. Respect their space too.
  • Don't touch lightened candles and flowers.
  • Bring your own utensils and clean as you go if you're planning to eat there.
  • Do not bring alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not bring sharp objects.

Superstitious Beliefs

Many Filipinos are superstitious. Here are some of the superstitions during the Undas that have been passed around for generations.

  • Never step on tombs and tombstones.
  • Never steal or touch someone else’s’ candles or offerings or you will be haunted by the ghost.
  • If you can’t light a candle at the cemetery, light a candle in your front door.
  • Offer prayers and holy mass for the dead or you will dream of them for days.
  • Before going out from the cemetery, you should “bathe” your hands and body with smoke emitted by burned grasses or leaves.
  • You should immediately change your clothes as soon as you get home to prevent souls from the cemetery from following you.


For those going to the provinces during the Undas, make sure that you unplug all the wires to prevent fire accidents and lock the doors.

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