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5 Alternatives to Undas Traditions This Pandemic That Are Just As Meaningful

Honor your dearly departed minus exposure to the coronavirus.

Looks like this year’s All Souls’ Day is going to be a replay of last year. Despite the Philippines achieving low-risk classification status against COVID-19, government ordered the closure of all cemeteries from October 29 to November 2, 2021. It’s a move to prevent the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

How to be safe against COVID-19 while still paying your respects to loved ones gone too soon? Here are five alternatives to Undas: 

Visit on another day.

Visitors flock to the Manila North Cemetery on Sunday, days after cemeteries across the country were temporarily closed. The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease closed cemeteries around the country from October 29 to November 4 during the annual observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Photo from ABS-CBN News)

Though it’s an Undas traditioin to go on November 1 and 2, there’s no rule that says you can’t go on an earlier or later date. In fact, visiting a loved one in a cemetery or columbarium minus the usual crowds bodes for less distraction and traffic—and more time to reflect and pray in peace. (Read: 3 Ways to Observe Undas Amid Quarantine Restrictions)

Go online.

Screenshot from Undas Online

In Undas Online, you can request for Masses and prayers, virtually light a candle in a remembrance of your dearly departed, listen to or watch uplifting homilies. Though not obligatory, the site appreciates donations and stipends in whatever amount you can afford; these go to priests celebrating the Masses. (Read: Undas Online Is Now Accepting Prayer Requests)

If you prefer a more intimate online experience, schedule a virtual gathering with close family and friends. Once together, take turns sharing fond memories of those who have passed away (show pictures of them, if you like) and close with a prayer for the repose of your beloved’s souls. This is one Undas tradition that you can start this year, if you haven’t done so yet. 

Write a letter.

Photo from Pexels

Do you have something you need to get off your chest? Perhaps you need to forgive—or be forgiven. Perhaps you have unresolved issues you need to thresh out. Maybe you simply miss that person’s presence. Whatever it is, putting your thoughts down in writing can be a cathartic experience, much like journaling, which is already recognized as a form of therapy. What do you with the letter after that is up to you. Journaling or writing a letter once a year to the people we loved and lost is a form of Undas tradition that we can start right now. 

Celebrate the person’s life.

Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

Play his or her favorite music, listen to songs that were once on heavy rotation on their playlist, serve a dish that they once couldn’t resist. Recalling the good times with someone no longer with us is bittersweet—a natural feeling when you lose a person you love. (Read: The Impressive Ways Other Countries Celebrate All Souls Day)

Do something good in that person’s honor.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Was your loved one into dogs and cats, children, or charitable works? Make a pledge in his or her name, give it to your chosen organization, and tell them about the person behind the donation. The organization will appreciate the help and gesture, and the name and memory of your dearly departed will live on in good deeds.


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