All Saint's Day: Finding the Value of Death

All Saint's Day:
Finding the Value of Death

a reflection

A deep lament of a candle on my grandma D's tomb.

The flickering lights of candles in every corner, the stench of sodden earth and the line of people from the crowded entrance: my typical Saturday turned hiatus on a public cemetery of Sorsogon City.

In a sense i could just walk away from everything and take a ride to a local fast food store to have a cup of coffee, but i stood there with my mother and father putting a melancholic gaze at a concrete box where my late grandmother 'D' lie. The burning fear of being caught by my indecision and disinterest on all saint's day by my parents succumbed by my comfort of sitting back on a chair and watching smallville in my laptop. i stood there with my clammy hands on the pocket of my grunge jeans. I still wonder the importance of this occasion. I still wonder what could be more important than just looking at the flickering light of the candle in front of my grandparent's grave.

I wouldn't dare to ask my father because i should know by now the importance of this occasion given that I am a third year undergrad of the top school of my country. So i asked myself with good intentions. I reflected on this idea hopping to get a quick answer. What could make this an important occasion? The basic idea is being there, or so i thought.

At memorial garden where the rest of my late family members lies.

Ethics has a basic premise: existence of men in a cultured society. Ethical choice motivates me to continue this cultural action without a word. Religion seemed to complete this choice and converge it into a system of beliefs practice annually. It is a culturally bounded idea fulfilled by cultured society of men. This seemed to be a heavy explanation. It simply means that what i just did being there is an ethical obligation that one must achieve. It is more of a socio-cultural choice than a religious one.

In the Philippines, the celebration of all saint's day is a reunion and a sign. Reunion concept is heavily associated with the kind of family tie that exist in Philippine society. With family as a basic unit of society the success of this ethical choice is the collaboration of a family. The attachment of each individual in this basic unit is determined by their basic functions as human beings and as cultured beings. This certain bond with each other is so intense that we honor even those who have died. This occasion is the culmination of this honor and respect.

This honor to the dead is true in all culture of the worlds. Egyptians are best at honorific treatment of the dead. The great deal of mummification and the formation of tombs and pyramids for honoring the dead even marked them as the founders of modern engineering and modern medicine. They even treat the dead as their gods in afterlife. The metaphysical significance of death is important to men.

Mummified dead of some Egyptian.
Photo credit to this site!

Dying seems to be a fearful thing to experience but it is the most natural thing in the world. The philosophy of dying expands from the origin of our civilization until today and it has a basic idea: when we die we live an afterlife. Philosophical debates have led to some idea about this afterlife. The Catholics believe the Christian idea of death which suggests that the life after death is eternity with the God, or otherwise. Hindus believe in the reincarnation of the soul like what ancient Egyptians believe also. Existentialists believe that the life after death is nonexistent. This concern of dying is highly debated until now in metaphysics, a branch of philosophy tasked to answer questions like does God exist or does the life after death exist.

A burning candle of love offered to my grandfather
who passed away last year.

However, in my opinion the great deal of coming to the cemetery on All Saint's Day is both an ethical and spiritual task that is fundamental to those who believe in the life after death. Ethics dictates that we do this because culturally we are bound by close family ties to respect the attachment to a particular person. Metaphysics dictates that we go to the cemetery during this day because we lament with our existence as human beings with a soul trapped in a body and to honor the metaphysical process of death and life after death.

i went home that night overwhelmed with this idea.

I do not believe in the existence of ghosts living with us. There is nothing to fear about the dead. But i do believe in the existence of life after death. The life after death and the souls that belong to this circle shares a dissimilar world with us. It is not even a world but a place the God only provided for such eternal beings.

BE not afraid.

Ciao! God bless!