How to Celebrate the Philippines' Day of the Dead. On November 1 of each year, many people in the Philippines celebrate the Day of the Dead, called Araw ng mga Patay. Families visit with their lost loved ones and take time to clean their graves. Unlike Mexico's festivities, the Philippines' Day of the Dead celebration feels more like a family reunion than a wild party.
Celebrate the Day of the Dead in the Philippines
Head to the cemeteries where you'll find just about everybody gathered. Most Filipinos have several nonworking days before and after the November 1 holiday, so they may remain by their loved ones' graves overnight.
Help the locals clean the graveyard. A few days before the Philippines' Day of the Dead, families clear the weeds from around a grave or mausoleum. Some families also repaint gravestones or markers.
Expect to find family members perched on and between graves during the Philippines' Day of the Dead holiday. Filipino cemeteries consist of more than just grassy fields with markers. Instead, you'll find large mausoleums, tombs and even houses in the cemeteries.
Visit different cemeteries to see how the various cultures in the Philippines celebrate the Day of the Dead. While the holiday rates as the third most important behind Christmas and Holy Week for the entire country, each culture brings aspects of their own traditions.
Make your way to the Chinese Graveyard, sometimes also marked as the Chinese Cemetery on tourist maps, in the Philippines' capital of Manila to see lavish shrines and mausoleums. Some of the "grave-temples" in the Millionaire's Row and Little Beverly Hills sections of the graveyard feature running water, electricity, television and bathrooms. A few even have swimming pools. As imagined, this cemetery boasts the most extravagant Day of the Dead ceremonies.
Find the locals playing cards, dancing and singing throughout the day. Filipinos feel comfortable around their dead relatives, wanting them to take part in the festivities. During meals on the Day of the Dead, an extra portion is placed out for each departed soul.
Ask before you take pictures of families celebrating the Philippines' Day of the Dead. The day remains a spiritual and religious day, so you should respect the privacy of people who celebrate it. Similar celebrations take place on November 1 and 2 around the world, because Catholic missionaries and settlers moved already existing holidays to coincide with All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day.