TODOS LOS SANTOS
Oct 31 & Nov 1
Celebrations of All Saints Day, as in the west, start in Paete on the evening before, which is Halloween night. On that night, children big and small roam around town as "Kaluluwas", souls of the dead, who have been given a night-off from heaven in order to beg for alms. This is our version of trick-or-treat. The kids don't wear costumes, but they do make a lot of noise. The more enterprising ones carry handbells to announce their presence. Traditional alms for "kaluluwas" are cookies, candies, peanuts and rice cakes, but a few centavos is always welcome. The Kaluluwa song is urgent, but not threatening:
Sa tapat ng durungawan,
Ginigising ang maybahay.
Kung kami po'y lilimusan
Dali-dali nga po lamang
At baka kami'y masarhan
Ng pinto sa kalangitan.
(We are souls of the dead, approaching your front windows, ringing our handbells, waking up the householders.
(If you deem to give us alms, please hurry it up before heaven closes its doors and locks us out.)
Occasionally, kaluluwas become tricksters, too. They are known to steal chickens, fruits and other foodstuffs, even laundry hanging from the line. The more careful householders watch out for these naughty kids, ready to beat them up if they misbehave.
The next day, All Saints' Day, Nov. 1, people trek out to the cemeteries to spruce up their family graves, offer flowers and prayers, and light candles for their departed ones. A lot of socializing goes on in the cemeteries. Ideally, people should wait to honor their dead until the next day, All Souls' Day, Nov 2, but Paete people like to think of their dearly departed as "saints" and not just as "poor souls languishing in purgatory."
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