Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spirits of the Dead

Here in Bontoc, most people are not even aware of Halloween or the activities that accompany it. But tonight many will celebrate a holiday specifically for the purpose of honoring the spirits of the dead, All Saints Day.

The celebration actually begins with All Saints Eve. Many will spend the evening at the graves of their relatives burning candles and making offerings of food to their deceased relatives.

These celebrations are important in the belief systems of the people here. All Saints Day is widely celebrated. Our first experience with All Saints Day we were surprised that the only people who showed up at church (the holiday fell on a Sunday) were us and the pastor. My meeting with the police tomorrow for Moral Recovery Program has been postponed until next week in observance to the holiday.

Aside from the actual holiday, giving honor to the dead is practiced on many occasions. In one instance, we were talking to one of our patients from our health clinic. She mentioned that she had missed attending the clinic because she had not been feeling well. She talked about how her coworker said it was because she failed to make the appropriate sacrifices honoring the death anniversary of her late husband. She told us that she had gone to mass on that day and lit a candle, but had not offered the sacrifices.

Please pray with us that God will open the eyes of the people here who need to fall in love with Him and not fear and worship the spirits of the dead.

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