Candles lit, flowers offered, and prayers said.


Technically, what we really commemorate every November 1st is the All Saints' Day while All Souls' Day is "celebrated" on the next day, the 2nd. In the Philippines though, it has become customary for the Filipinos to go to the cemeteries to visit their departed beloveds every first of November. It serves as a mini reunion of sorts where family and friends gather to light candles, offer flowers, and say prayers. When I was still very young, I was told by my grandmother that the smoke coming from the lit candles and the scent of the flowers carry our prayers to the dead souls in heaven. I don't know why but I have always found comfort in that thought. 

Every November 1st, aside from visiting my paternal grandmother's grave at the Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Park, my family and I go to the Immaculate Garden Memorial Park just across the street from where we live to visit the grave of my sister Kim. She was premature-born and lived for only eight days. I can still remember her, lying peacefully as if she was just sleeping in her casket bedecked with flowers. It was heartbreaking how she looked like a little doll. If she was still alive, she would have been fourteen years old now. I was not able to see her during the eight days she was alive as I was still ten years old then and wasn't allowed to visit the hospital. Sometimes I wonder how life would have been if she was here with us. Earlier today, I realized I need not wonder. I know and accept that she is in a much happier place now, looking over us. By her grave, I said my prayers and hugged my eleven year old sister Kyla.

My friends from high school and I also have this tradition of meeting up every November 1 taking part in one another's family reunions and having slumber parties after. I wasn't able to go last year because of work, so I made sure that I took a vacation leave from work today. However, all of them were tied with other commitments so we weren't really able to meet up. It's kinda sad, really, how these mini traditions seemed to have been forgotten once "real life" kicked in, but I guess I couldn't really blame them. I just miss them, is all, and I really hope I can get to see them later this month on my close friends Jella's and Dianne's birthday celebrations. 

I still cannot believe it's already November and there are only two months left before the year comes to a close. Another year will come in and more changes will come. With it, mini traditions will be (inevitably but I most certainly hope not) forgotten. I am hoping though that this November 1 tradition will not be neglected. I for one would personally appreciate candles lit, flowers offered, and prayers said for me when it's my turn to go Up there.

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