November 1st is a significant holiday in the Filipino culture. Here are some thoughts from Pastor Francis Neil G. Jalando-on, a chaplain at Central Philippine University:
Most of us have visited our departed loved ones in the cemetery today. It is our tradition to light candles, eat sticky food, and reunite with family members on All Saints Day.
What lessons can we learn on our November 1 tradition?
First, let us value our family. In our fast pace world nowadays we sometimes forget to greet our love ones, share stories with them, and just sit there and feel their presence.
We need to seek out our family members and let them feel that we value their existence. Sometimes a surprise visit does a lot of good.
When was the last time you visited your family?
Second, let us fellowship in our table. It increasingly alarming that we oftentimes eat alone, and in a fast food joint. One can note in the gospels that there are many stories of Jesus together with people attending a feast or having just plain supper. Jesus did not do it for the free food but in eating together, Jesus was teaching us about how to nurture our relationship with one another.
What is it in eating together? When we share a meal, there is ritual of passing the plates, viands, and drinks. While doing this, we are reconnecting with our family members – we would ask them what is happening with their life, and vice versa. This is why eating in a table with family and friends would sometimes take long to finish. Table fellowship is a good way of uniting our family.
Eating foods that are sticky on November 1 is a reminder for Filipinos to stick with your family. There are many families that are breaking up, and eating “suman” reminds us to keep our family together.
When was the last time you ate with your family?
Third, we need to keep and continue the legacy of our departed loved ones.
I noticed that in the cemetery, one of the purposes of lighting a candle is to start a conversation about the departed loved one and use the life of the candle as the timer when to end the conversation. Although the conversation is short, it rekindles memories. The swapping of stories becomes a great way of passing on to the next generation the legacy of the previous generation.
When was the last time you told a story of your departed loved one to the new generation of your family?
May God bless us all!
Pastor Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
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