The Philippines: Filipino care for the dead ones


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As soon as a person dies, people will spread the news about someone's death, those who can afford even published it in newspapers as obituaries.

Those who care for the dead will care for the living

You can read this in every cemetery which mean that as a Filipino it's a part of our traditional and cultural belief and it's our practice in paying homage to our dead ones.

As soon as a person dies, people will spread the news about someone's death, those who can afford even published it in newspapers as obituaries. We as a Christian or even the Tagalog people hold the wake of dead ones which we called "lamay" for 3-7 days or even last until 2 weeks more longer if we are waiting for family or some relatives from far away places. The body of the dead one will be cleaned and embalmed then put in a coffin then displayed or put in the house or in funeral home. The casket will be surrounded by funeral lights and wreath or bouquet of flowers from family, relatives and friends. A  registry book and contribution box where what we called "abuloy" is to be put or drop is near the casket, this is to help the family of the dead one for some funeral and burial expenses. Family members, relatives and acquaintances are always there for the vigil. Some foods like biscuits, nuts and candies and warm drinks are customarily served during the nightly vigil.

There are some activities outside or near the vigil to keep the people awake the whole night such as playing, playing cards, gambling, singing. It is conventional that concerned visitors ask the surviving family members how the deceased died, if he or she suffered during his or her illness or last moments, or how much the hospital expenses were. We also offer mass or novena for 9 days for the benefit of the dead one. On the last night, some have also a live band nowadays.

On the day of burial or funeral, the coffin is carried by family members or friends and loaded into a hearse and family, relatives and friends joining the procession going to the Church for Catholic funerals wherein the dead one will be celebrated by mass. The representative color of attires for the memorial service and interment is normally black. However if white clothing is preferred, it is customary to sport a black mourning pin at the chest area. Then after the mass or from the Church it will goes to the cemetery for the entombment. A custom known as the pasiyam or pagsisiyam. This nine-day prayer service concludes on the last night with a novena and a formal meal with family, relatives, and friends. Such a concluding rite on the ninth day is performed because Filipinos believe that this is the day when the soul of the departed relative moves on from the world of the living.

The bereavement period does not normally end with this ritual, instead extending for a period of one year. During this time, the family will still express their mourning by not holding personal or family celebrations and other communal activities. Although, it is very common to conduct an additional evening of prayer forty days after the nine-day period, then again, on the one year anniversary of the departed.

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