Traditionally, November 1 and 2 is the period when Filipinos troop to cemeteries to light candles and pray at the graves of their loved ones. It is also a public holiday since the Filipino observance of Undas covers both holidays.
As early as October 31, most Filipinos go to cemeteries to visit the graves of departed loved ones with some even spending the night. A huge number of Filipinos living in the cities also go back to their home provinces to be with their families during the season.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Filipinos’ way of life has been disrupted once again—this time changing the way Undas is to be observed in the country. This comes as the government ordered the closure of cemeteries to limit the public gathering and curb the spread of COVID-19. (Read: CBCP Backs Decision to Close Down Cemeteries During ‘Undas’)
So, to help you observe the holiday without breaking quarantine protocols, we listed five ways to observe Undas with your loved ones!
Undas Tip #1: Schedule an Early Visit.
Those who want to carry on the tradition of Undas and go to the cemetery should be able to visit cemeteries anytime during the whole month of October before October 31. They can also visit their loved ones’ graves in the weeks after November 3. The closure is simply to avoid the gathering of millions of people in one place at the same time.
Undas Tip #2: Offer Masses to Your Dearly Departed
If you don’t want to run the risk of exposing yourself to the virus and just want to stay home, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said you can offer masses online to your departed loved ones. Since the majority of the Catholic masses in the country are now held online, this is one way to adapt to the new normal. (Read: Manila Cathedral Holds Blessing of Cremated Remains Until November 8)
Undas Tip #3: Pray and Light Candles at Home
If you’re uncomfortable about hearing and offering masses online, you can pray and light candles at home—a tradition that is widely practiced by Filipinos who can’t go home to their provinces during Undas. (Read: Explore the Fascinating Ways Filipinos Choose to Honor the Dead) Light up candles in your home altar and get the whole family to pray the rosary and recite a personal prayer for your departed loved ones.