Halloween pumpkins

Halloween in the Philippines might be one of the most anticipated holidays in the country except Christmas and New Year. It is that week-long celebration for visiting the tombstones of our deceased loved ones, meet the rest of the clan, dress up in Halloween costumes, do trick or treating, exchange scary stories, attend Halloween events, and so much more!

In the old days, most traditional Filipino families spend the holiday to visit the grave of their relatives in the province, light up candles, pray, and spend the other days catching up with the other family members. But with a bit of Western influence, Filipinos now embrace the tradition of turning Halloween into something fun with parties and other ways to celebrate it.

If you are visiting the country for the first time during Halloween, here are 10 things you should know about how Filipinos celebrate Halloween.

Week-long Family Reunion

We visit our dead family members and meet the rest of the clan at the cemetery. It then becomes a family gathering wherein we talk and reminisce about the life of the fallen member. It is somewhat our way of honoring their lives.

Reunions don’t happen without food. So, us, being Filipinos and able to make life easier, bring trays of cooked dishes to the cemetery, gather around the headstone and pass on the prepared meals. Other companies even build food stalls in cemeteries to add to the party!

Photo from SCJ Philippines Region

We Offer Food to the Dead

This Chinese tradition is not a belief that all Filipinos do, but some still leave fruits on top of the headstone because what is a family reunion if these souls are not invited to eat? Right? They get hungry, too!

Lighting a Candle

The ritual of lighting a candle to pay tribute to a life ‘passed’ has long been a part of our culture. Keeping a light burning in remembrance signifies that the memory still lives on and burns bright. It is a ritual that promotes reflection and signifies remembrance.

Halloween is not limited to Souls

In the Philippines, Halloween is not only limited to dead souls. We also have Philippine folklore about tikbalang, capri, aswang, manananggal and a lot more!

Halloween Parties

Some homes in other foreign countries host Halloween parties in their houses and this means dancing, drinking and partying all night. Here in the Philippines, Halloween is a family gathering and sometimes a corporate thing. Most BPO companies host parties. However, some companies make no big deal about it.

You might think we have a very boring Halloween here in the Philippines. After all, cemeteries, graves, and prayers make for a pretty serious-sounding affair. In reality, spending Halloween in the cemetery is actually a lot of fun. All Saints’ Day serves as a miniature reunion for families and friends who only get to see each other once a year.


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