Contributed by Chantall Luzong
While these trying times have got most (if not all) of us stuck in our homes, the pandemic certainly shouldn’t keep us from remembering the souls of our loved ones this All Souls’ Day.
In the Philippines, All Souls’ Day is known to be celebrated by going back to home provinces, bringing flowers, and lighting candles in cemeteries or churches. However, due to strict implementation and protocols in line with COVID-19, churches and cemeteries will be closed on 1 and 2 November, otherwise known as ‘Undas’ weekend.
That being said, we have to come up with creative yet touching ideas to honour our loved ones this Undas — simple yet special ways to put on a few chuckles and ‘kilig’ moments as if they were still here with us. I’m pretty sure all our faithful departed would want their souls to be solemnised instead of grieved. So, below are nine unique suggestions for “celebrating” All Souls’ Day 2020.
All Souls’ Day 2020: Simple ways to remember our loved ones from home
1. Prepare & enjoy a meal with the family
The mighty George Bernard Shaw once said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” Together with family and friends, prepare the recipes your loved ones used to cook or bake! If other members of the family cannot physically join the table, schedule a video chat and share a virtual toast to the souls you’re remembering this All Souls’ Day.
2. Have a movie (or TV series) marathon
Why not stream your loved one’s favourite movies or series? To make things even more special, enjoy the show together with his or her favourite go-to snack and signature sip.
3. Sing your hearts out
There are two ways you can fulfil this. Your first option: a typical Filipino ritual — rent a karaoke and sing your late loved ones’ favourite songs. Your second option? Play them on your stereo, cassette player, phone, or laptop. And sure, you can have tipsy sessions while fondly remembering the good old days!
4. Clean out your late loved ones’ rooms
Probably not your conventional way to commemorate loved ones during All Souls’ Day, but why not? Make it a family event, and clean and reorganise the belongings of those who’ve passed away. Light a candle or play their favourite songs, and take the opportunity to reminisce while sorting through their things.
5. Prepare speeches
It’s always meaningful to reminisce about the days we shared with our late loved ones. Break the monotonous vibe by sharing heartwarming, hilarious, and unforgettable stories with your family and friends.
6. Order their favourite food
I’m sure there were lots of times that your late loved ones would order food for takeout or delivery — days when they would crave for milk tea, sushi, pizza, or anything like that. Why not order some of their favourites now? It’s been a while, don’t you think?
7. Bring out their best-loved displays
Unbox or unwrap your loved ones’ favourite displays. Whether it’s a replica of a Van Gogh painting they loved, an autographed Backstreet Boys poster, or a customised lamp shade from a suki local shop, bring it out for old time’s sake and exhibit it to remember them by.
8. Play board and card games
Why not do something fun after lunch or dinner? Play your beloved relatives’ favourite games! May that be Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, Jenga, Mahjong, Tong-its, or the legendary Dama and Sungka.
9. Put together a memory table
Spare a part of your house where you can prepare a simple shrine for your late loved ones. Put one together by setting up a small table with photos of them, together with nice candles, fresh flowers, and any other items that may remind you of them.
I believe there are no set guidelines when celebrating All Souls’ Day. And yes, there are endless ideas on how to remember this very day, especially in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The important thing is to keep it in a way that your loved ones would have wanted, and in a manner you and your family are most comfortable with.