Next Monday (Oct 31) is my second most dreaded day of the year: Halloween.
The worst day of the year of course is April 15. Tax day.
But this isn’t about Halloween, it’s about All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, two Philippines holidays coming up next week.
November 1 (All Saints’ Day) is a special non-working holiday.
November 2 (All Souls’ Day) is a special working holiday in the Philippines.
I know the special holiday thing in the Philippines is kind of confusing. They got rid of the special non-working holiday for the 2023 calendar, but it’s still in the 2022 calendar. Just think of special holidays as school holidays to make things easier to remember.
All Saints and All Souls (collectively referred to as Undas in Filipino) are the days when Filipinos honor their dead loved ones by going to the cemetery. Most schools schedule a break around this time, so students and teachers can participate in the tradition. I talked about this in greater detail in this blog post: https://johnjonas.com/upcoming-all-saints-and-all-souls-day-holidays/
This year, travel restrictions have been lifted. This means most Filipinos, including your OFS, might ask to take a leave of absence on these days. With November 1 being a Tuesday, they might ask to also take their leave on October 31, which falls on a Monday. That way, they have a four-day weekend to join the tradition.
**Update: A few days after we wrote this newsletter, the Philippine government just declared October 31 as a special holiday. They decided to add this as a holiday because they knew people will ask to take a leave on that day anyway. https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1186390
Whether you approve of this leave or not, it’s up to you. Only November 1 is recognized by the Philippine government as a special non-working holiday. But if you can afford to give them days off around this time, they’ll really appreciate it.
Part of the All Saints and All Souls Day tradition is caring for the graves of their loved ones. They clean up the gravestones and do some light gardening. The pandemic has put this tradition on hold for two years, and I’m sure many of them are eager to do this for their loved ones again.
I wish we celebrated Halloween like Filipinos celebrate All Saints’ Day. Honoring the dead is so much better than begging for candy.