Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All Saints Day

Unlike the U.S., Halloween is almost non-existent in Besao. Dressing up and going house to house in search of candy is a custom that made the Igorots laugh as I described Halloween to them. All Saints Day, however, is a magnificent sight to behold. We had a mass baptism at the church at which I became a godmother (ninang) for the first time. Erin, the little girl who lives next door is now my goddaughter. We baptized her as Maurice Ernestine Almario. After the service, we went to the cemetery for a picnic lunch. People here do not see cemeteries as spooky graveyards filled with dead people, but rather, a spiritual place that honors all those who have gone before us. At 3pm we had another church service in which Padi Brent and Padi Johnny read the names of all of the people who were buried in that cemetery, blessed the graves, and lit a great fire.From the initial fire set, the people ignited their kindling (saleng) and spread the fire around the cemetery to be placed at each grave.Within minutes, the entire cemetery filled with black smoke and it became hard to see and even harder to breathe.When the smoke cleared, we were covered in black soot and made the trek home to take a bath before the evening feast.
Melanie West Goes… All Saints Day

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the wonderful pictures. It is great to see and read of the traditions.