On November 1, Filipinos will flock to the cemeteries to pay their respect to their dearly departed with candles, flowers, and prayers for their souls to be at peace and in the company of their Maker. It’s an annual tradition practiced by millions since anyone can remember.
But did you know that November 2 is the actual day of what’s known as the Commemoration of All The Faithful Departed?
Halloween on October 31 sets off the series of days that honors the memories and souls of those who are no longer with us. November 1 is All Saints’ Day, which “is dedicated to the recognized saints of the Church and all those who have made it into heaven,” says catholic.org. November 2 is All Souls’ Day, a day “dedicated to all those who are departed from this world who wait in faith of the promised Resurrection.”
A Day of Prayers for the Dead
While November 1 is a holy day of obligation (for Catholics, this means attending Mass) and November 2 isn’t, hearing Mass on both days is perfectly fine—as is visiting the dead on All Saints’ Day instead of All Souls’ Day. What’s important is that we continue to remember our loved ones and set aside a special day to celebrate their lives and the promise of spending eternity with their Creator.
“Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by offering the celebration of the Eucharist for them,” said Pope Francis during the Angelus at St. Peter’s Square on November 2, 2014. “It is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls, particularly to the most abandoned ones.
“The foundation of prayers of remembrance is found in the communion of the Mystical Body. Remembering the dead, caring for their tombs and prayers of suffrage are testimony to confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death does not have the last word on human destiny, as humanity is destined for a life without end, that has its root and its fulfillment in God.”
BONUS! Undas, a word that comes up around this time of the year, is from the Spanish word honras, meaning “to honor.”