LIST: Ways to Observe All Souls Day While Under Quarantine

HSBC Philippines
COVID-19 Undas
Undas is an annual Filipino tradition honoring the dead on days around November 2. Photo from pexels

Here are ways Filipinos can still observe the solemn holiday and have the full Undas experience this All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day even despite cemeteries being closed and the nation is under community quarantine to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Undas is an annual Filipino tradition to commemorate those who have died. Every year around November 1 and 2, families gather to visit their loved ones’ graves and light candles, offer flowers, and pray together for the souls of the dead.

However this year, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak the government ordered the closure of cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums all over the country from October 29 to November 4, 2020.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful to be understanding of new quarantine protocols and encouraged the public to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus.

The CBCP stresses that visiting graveyards of the dearly departed is not an obligation and recommends solemn prayer and reflection instead. Filipinos can still have the full Undas experience – virtually and otherwise.

Here are ways Filipinos can observe All Souls Day while the country remains under quarantine:

1. Light a candle and pray. Filipino families can set aside time to pray together inside their homes and light candles for their beloved dead, says the CBCP.

The faithful can also light candles for their departed virtually, through the Undas Online website, which added new features on October 9 to help Catholics observe the enduring Filipino tradition. The online CBCP-run platform allows you to light candles, accompanied by a video with the prayer for the dead.

2. Send a prayer request online. You can send a prayer request online, through the Undas Online website under the Prayer Request section. Different prayer requests, such as Thanksgiving and Petitions are also available.

3. Offer a Mass for your departed loved ones. You can submit the names of departed loved ones to be included in the Masses, through the Prayer Request section on the Undas Online website.

4. You can also order an All Souls’ Day e-Mass Card for COVID victims and frontliners with any amount of donation made on the Radio Veritas website. The e-Mass Cards can be sent to the victims’ families through email and are being made available in time for the observance of All Souls’ Day on November 2, 2020.

5. Attend Mass. You can hear Mass either online through live streaming on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day or attend Mass in your local church.

Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo in a CBCP report on October 9, encouraged the faithful to observe Undas by going to church to hear Mass. More Masses will be added by parish churches in the archdioceses to accommodate churchgoers and still observe physical distancing.

6. Have the cremated remains of your dead loved ones blessed. The Rite of Blessing of Cremated Remains will be celebrated on November 1 and 2, in the Manila Cathedral. Families may bring the urns of their beloved dead to be blessed after every mass. Health Safety Protocols will be observed.

7. The Blessed Souls Chapel in the Cathedral will also be open the whole day for offering Mass intentions and votive candles for the dead.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has not hindered Filipinos from paying respects to their dead. Bereaved Filipinos offered candles, food, and flowers to their departed loved ones in cemeteries ahead of the week-long closure ordered by the government.

TELL US in the comments below, how are you observing All Souls Day while under community quarantine?

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Margo Hannah De Guzman Quadra
Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.