ALL SAINTS DAY AND ALL SOULS DAY
Keeping alive memories and connecting
Carrying on a tradition of prayers and fond memories, hundreds of the CNMI’s Christian community made it a point to light a candle, bring flowers, and clear the final resting places of their late loved ones yesterday as part of the annual observance of All Saints Day. The same tradition will be observed today, which is called All Souls Day.
Traditionally celebrated by many in the Roman Catholic Church on Nov. 1 and 2, many in the CNMI do not only observe it as a tradition but also a time to reflect on past memories, uphold the respect due in the present, and think about the future.
Among the many cemeteries that were filled with individuals and families paying their respects yesterday, the Chalan Kanoa cemetery behind the Mt. Carmel Church was, as expected, quite full.
Among those paying their respects at the CK cemetery was Diego M. Sablan and his wife Elaine. “Every time I come here, I always feel at peace, I always feel connected,” he said. He added that just visiting the cemetery and paying respects to their loved ones was one of the ways he unplugs from the chaos—and many things going on in the world—and connects. “I feel like I’m connected to my ancestors, to my roots. This is our tradition. Once a year we come and beautify the gravesites, pay respect with flowers and candles, but I think it’s beyond that. …At least for me personally. I try to come here at least once a week, just so I can stay connected. And I always feel that special place when I come.” Sablan added.
His wife, Elaine, added “I think it’s because we believe there’s life after death, and so as we are praying for them they are praying for us.”
Deion Duenas, alongside his mother, Arlina, and brother, Devon, were there to commemorate the life of his father, who recently passed away. “It’s a really good time to think back and collect all the memories. It’s also good to see the community, everyone come together, just to take this time, and day to remember and pray.”
Angeline Barcelo of New Paradise Flower Shop said they do get extra busy this time of the year, but this is also a sensitive time for customers and they try to take time to help each individual pick out the right flowers for their loved ones.
One of New Paradise’s customers, Betty Villacrusis, said that she too was buying some fresh flowers for her late husband. She explained that although her husband was buried in their native home in the Philippines, she would still remember to light a candle and offer flowers and prayers for him.