As I'm writing this post, I'm listening to the gentle sound of raindrops falling on the roof. It had been a hot and humid day. Just when you think there is no stopping the heat, rainfall gave a pleasant relief on a Monday evening. Tonight is the eve of Halloween. Following the trend driven by the U.S. media, I saw some children dressed in costumes trick-or-treating yesterday at the mall. But tradition in my country is a bit more than just dressing up and collecting candies. We celebrate All Souls' Day and All Saints' Day by remembering and honoring our dead loved ones. Instead of costumes, people are busy buying candles, flowers and food. Evening news feature paranormal and supernatural events, meant to give you some goosebumps and scare. Days before Nov. 1 and 2, airports, ships and buses will be packed as people rush to go back to their hometowns. Most of the streets are also quiet and rather empty. There is only one place where you can find most of the people at: the cemetery. Traffic going in and out of the cemeteries and the nearby streets is tight. Prayers are offered to souls, candles lighted and flowers are left in front of the tombs and occasionally, as odd as it is, even food for the dead. The pecularities do not end there. There is a "fun" side to our Halloween celebration too. It is a time for families to reunite and spend time together. Tents, chairs and tables are set up in front of the tombs to provide shelter from the heat or rain where families will mingle and chit-chat. Some people even spend the night at the graveyard. There is plenty of food and drinks going around with food stalls and vendors lined up just outside the cemeteries. People bring music and games for entertainment. It really is becoming more of an odd, big cemetery-style picnic. I feel that the whole essence of the celebration seems to be lost gradually over time.
I've missed the past couple of years celebrating All Souls' Day like everyone else and this year is not going to be any different. The heat, the overwhelming crowd and chaos are sometimes a little too much for me. I much prefer to stay at home and offer my prayers quietly. That also gives me more time to do what I enjoy the most, baking and food gawking online. :) Ah, I savor and relish my 4-day weekend.