The Celebration of Death among the Filipinos
The first funeral ritual for catholic I experienced was in the Northern Province of the Philippines. Where I learned about death at a young age when my grandmother died of cancer eight years ago an event so clear in my memory and when I first experienced Filipinos practices and learned about our beliefs.
Filipinos are very respectful of the dead. A typical Filipino watch for a dead loved-one lasts between 5-7 days and sometimes longer for those with relatives outside the country who of course flies home for burial. Families keep watch for their dead in the family home. This is more private than in funeral homes and expenses are less. Relatives and friends stay overnight until the time of burial. Families are expected to come together on the sad times and give each other support. Friends condole with the family of the deceased and give flowers as a sign of condolence and keep watch until the burial day.
The Filipino tradition to watch the dead are usually solemn events. No chanting, singing, or playing of a musical instrument is allowed. During my grandma’s funeral, the people play cards to keep them awake. Food and refreshments are served for the people who watch for the dead. And also novenas and rosary prayers are held every night until the burial.
My grandma's funeral procession was a very solemn affair. Her coffin was brought out of the house with her feet first. She was then placed in a hearse. My mom and her siblings hired a band to play at the procession. We walked to the church where a Holy Mass will be celebrated and to the cemetery which I thought took forever to reach. It was about 2 miles to the church and another couple of miles to the cemetery. The day of her funeral was beautiful. I remember the sun shining heavily on us because I remember sweating. We were all dressed in black, which made the sun's heat a lot stronger. Wearing black clothes is the most common mourning practice among the...