Filipinos observe different traditions and practices during holidays. One of these is the presence of kakanin or sticky rice when visiting cemeteries or commemorating deceased loved ones at home.
Similar to Christmas and New Year, it has been a tradition of the Filipinos to prepare food that would be shared with their relatives, even on cemetery visits. Aside from light snacks like sandwiches and finger food, various kakanin such as suman, puto, biko, kutsinta, sapin-sapin, and palitaw are always served to the visitors.
There are reasons why kakanin has been the center of the table during Undas. Some of these beliefs might surprise you! (Read: 5 of the Best Filipino Food for All Saints’ Day)
Maintaining family bonds
Most of the elderly say that any kakanin during Undas symbolizes the closeness and bond of the family, including deceased family members. This is also the time to reunite with some of the relatives we haven’t seen for a long time. With that, the stickiness of the kakanin is believed to bring everyone closer and stick together as a family—not just during All Saints’ Day or All Souls Day. For example, in Batangas, the locals commonly prepare suman na magkayakap with latik, which embodies the closeness of families. So, make sure to always include kakanin to your menu in commemorating your deceased loved ones.
Offering food for the departed loved ones
Another reason why there is kakanin during Undas is partly because of the Filipino tradition of offering food for the dead. There is a belief that our deceased loved ones might love kakanin since it has been a staple of Filipino cuisine and has been introduced to everyone. Some put the kakanin at the altar or tomb of their deceased loved ones as an offering. It would be great to serve the favorite kakanin of your departed loved ones to make them feel that you still remember them, including their favorite food. (Read: 3 Ways to Observe Undas Amid Quarantine Restrictions)
Remembering the memories
Serving kakanin during Undas can be another way of telling our deceased loved ones that we never forget about them and the memories we share with them. The stickiness of the kakanin signifies that our memories with our deceased loved ones remain in our hearts regardless of how long they have been gone. Through serving kakanin, we are reminding them that we don’t just remember them every Undas and their memories stick with us all the time. (Read: Here’s the True Meaning of ‘Undas,’ According to Pope Francis)