I know, I know yesterday was Halloween, but in some Christian countries, the true holiday of the autumn season is the Day of the Dead celebrated every year on November 1st. This religious holiday is always celebrated in countries in Latin American countries and the Philippines where a majority of the population are Roman Catholic. This holiday celebrates the life and remembrance of departed loved-ones. People would often visit the tombs and graves of beloved members of their family and friends, lighting candles, offering food, flowers and prayers as a sign of respect and remembrance.
As a child, I remembered dreading this holiday. I found that cemeteries in the Philippines very crowded with graves which made it very creepy and scary. My deceased relatives that we visit buried in older cemeteries some of which had “older” occupants buried during the 19th century. Because of this I hated going to cemeteries and would often avert my eyes whenever we would pass once by. I even thought the dead would sometimes inflict harm to the living (like they do in The Walking Dead ), not to mentioned those horror stories you hear as a child told by adults just to put you to sleep at night.
But a sudden turn of events changed my perspective about the dead and cemeteries. A sudden death in the family completely changed my perspective overcoming my fears of this occasion. All of a sudden, I no longer fear ghost stories, cemeteries and the dead. I don’t exactly know how it all changed me but I suppose it has something to do with grief. In some cultures, the dead are not grieved but their lives and memories are celebrated. They remember the good times they have shared with them and the good things about them. As for the harm I thought the dead inflicted upon the living, some people would simply say “the dead cannot hurt you anymore, they are already dead.”
This sudden turn of events in my life changes my view about the dead. I no longer fear going or passing through cemeteries. The ghost stories you hear from people are exactly that – stories, stories of events that once happened and stories does not harm you. So if you ever find yourself in a country that celebrates the Day of the Dead, try to observe and perhaps participate. The Day of the Dead is the celebration of their lives not their death.