Offering food to the dead shows close family ties of Filipinos
Offering prayers and placing food in front of the altar or on cemetery graves is a Filipino tradition during the observance of All Souls’ and All Saints’ Days.
Lourdes Generalao, 62, who hails from Negros Occidental, said she looks forward to the family cooking the favorite dishes of their late grandparents for Nov. 1 and offer these at the altar.
“We usually cook their favorite food and offer cigarettes and tuba (coconut wine),” she said.
This is their way of letting departed loved ones know that they are not forgotten, she said.
She said that if she gets sick, she asks the help of her departed mother and feels her presence.
“My way of saying thank you is offering prayers and food,” she said.
Generalao, like her late mother, is a ‘mananabtan’ or someone who leads believers in saying prayers for the dead.
Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the practice of offering food and prayers and gathering at the cemetery every All Souls’ Day is a sign of how Filipinos value the importance of family.
“Even death cannot cut off family ties in the Philippines,” he said.
By offering food to the departed, family members have made food as a symbol of sustaining life even after death.
All Souls’ Day has also become an occasion for family reunions.
But Binghay observed that the number of families practicing this tradition has decreased perhaps because of modernization and less interest in what happens after death.
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