How It’s Like to Celebrate the Halloween in Pampanga

Halloween here in the Philippines is celebrated way different from other countries. We don’t do the spooky occasion by carving pumpkin, crafting your own masks, watching an (age-appropriate) spooky movie or playing apple bobbing, though there are some areas where families have begun to practice such ways and the all new favorite trick-or-treating. But most of us celebrate it the solemn way with flickering candles, fragrant flowers, thoughtful prayers, and group visits to the cemetery.

Photo Source: Philippine Primer

Any day from October 31st to November 2nd, families flock to cemeteries and memorials where their loved ones are buried and stay for the entire day. Some even set up a camp and stay at night. They also use this opportunity to catch up and bond with their relatives especially those who don’t see each other on a regular basis.

We Kapampangans, in particular, observe Halloween not on a single night. It would be a week-long celebration for visiting the tombstones of our deceased loved ones. About a week before the Halloween, there would be an intensive cleaning process in the cemeteries. We would have the graveyards beautified by cutting the grass, trimming the shrubs, and painting the tombs.

On the day of celebration itself, we bring candles and flowers to the graves of our loved ones. Food and drinks also flow freely. We bring overflowing baskets of home-cooked delicacies to share. For those who run out of food, drinks, candles, or even flowers, vendors stand by around the cemeteries selling extra supplies. As they say, Kapampangans never forget to serve culinary delights for the dead.

We also light up candles in front of our homes by six in the evening of November 1 as it’s believed that it helps light up the way for the dead as they travel back into the afterlife. 

Halloween for us is also not limited to dead souls. We are kind of fond to tell stories about Philippine folklore with characters such as tikbalang which is a tall, bony humanoid creature, kapre which is a creature that could be characterized as a tree giant, manananggal which is a vampire-like mythical creature, aswang which is an umbrella term for various shape-shifting evil spirits, and a lot more.

Photo Source: The Summit Express

There are also Halloween parties hosted by the barangay officials where they really put an effort to dress up for this one-night celebration. Halloween parties in Pampanga have become an annual event that everyone looks forward to.

There you have it! That’s Halloween, the Kapampangan style!

But as we have experienced an unprecedented shift in our way of life because of Covid-19, it’s only natural to wonder if we should celebrate such event this year. For sure, Halloween and spooky night celebration won’t be the same as before. Camping and staying at night in the cemeteries won’t definitely be possible.

And the question actually is: How to celebrate Halloween and stay safe within any local rules you have to follow on social distancing and other measures as part of coronavirus prevention strategies?

While Halloween might be different this year, by embracing new traditions we show the resilience of the event, as well as our own, during difficult times.

The spirit of Halloween must certainly live on.

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Published by thewinningmentality

The Winning Mentality is a blog site that motivates and educates the audience to be successful in life.

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