Last week, I’ve concluded my project of playing some old 8-bit games. One of those games was Castlevania, a somewhat creepy horror game that reminded me of Halloween. Well, what I imagine Halloween is like in Western countries. Because, here in the Philippines, we seem to jump straight to thoughts of Christmas!
I’m not saying we don’t celebrate Halloween in here, though. There are some places where spooky decorations are prominent, like toy stores. I have some vague memories of going to one of my parent’s office to go Trick or Treating (I was dressed as The Little Mermaid, of course). Some of the clubs at the college I go do celebrate it, sort of. But Halloween definitely isn’t the big celebration that it is in the United States.
I actually kinda realized this fairly recently during my recent trip to one of the largest mall here in the Philippines, the aptly named SM MegaMall. I went there after school with my friends. Yes, it was out of the way but we wanted to check out the newly opened H&M store that opened there last week. It was getting huge buzz since people actually camped there overnight just to be the first in line to shop there! Crazy!
As we walked in, the familiar strains of Jingle Bells was being piped into the bowels of Megamall. Yes, they certainly didn’t waste much time in playing Christmas carols, did they? Oh, but it only got weirder from there!
After going through all the floors of H&M, we stopped by National Bookstore to get some school supplies (and so one of my friends could go look for a romance pocketbook for herself). Exploring National Bookstore, I did notice a small pitiful corner where you can purchase some Halloween stuff…
But as soon as I turned my head slightly to the left, my eyes were greeted by the blinding array of colorful red and green colors of the Christmas season! I wish I were kidding! In the month of October, two months before the month wherein we actually celebrate Christmas, there are already two rows dedicated to it!
I guess it’s not entirely that odd, considering the history of the Philippines. The country is a very Catholic-centric nation and in the very strictest sense. There’s always something in the back of people’s minds over here that, if you celebrate Halloween or things like that, you’re also worshiping the Devil and actually welcoming evil with open arms. While we know about Halloween, it took us a while to adopt a lot of its customs.
I think Halloween takes a backseat because of another couple of holidays we celebrate here the day after October 31st. Those would be All Saints Day and All Souls Day, the days where we pray for the ones that have passed on. It’s a pretty spiritual couple of days with thousands of people making pilgrimages to cemeteries to pay homage to the dead. So I don’t think we had that much time for all of that Trick or Treat foolishness since we’re too busy cramming ourselves in crowded cemeteries!
But I think the Philippines is getting better in celebrating All Hallows Eve. When I was young, I don’t remember a lot of costume parties being held in our neighborhood. But some of my friends told me they’re going to be attending a costume party on October 31st and wanted me to come along. Maybe I just will… but I don’t think my Little Mermaid costume would fit me anymore!
Speaking of The Little Mermaid, I think I’ll write about her and why she’s my favorite Disney Princess! See you!
Does your country celebrate Halloween? Let me know in the comments section below!