All cultures celebrate the passing of a loved one in different ways dependent upon their traditions, religion, and country of origin. The Republic of the Philippines, for example, has a very rich and complex history that has led to most Filipino people having strong Catholic roots. As a result, many of their traditions are very similar to what we are familiar with here in predominantly christian North America. If you want to know what to expect at many Filipino funerals, keep reading...
Catholic Filipinos will hold a wake that typically lasts three to five days - enough time for distant relatives to come to pay their final respects. Some wakes last a full week.
During this time, the deceased loved one is usually placed in a casket inside their home. Mourners will come and go to say their goodbyes, leaving behind little mementos like flowers or candles. Many people will donate money to the family in the aftermath of a significant loss. This is called Abuloy and is done as a gesture of goodwill and also to help offset some of the significant costs associated with the funeral and burial.
During the night-time hours, family members often take shifts to ensure that the deceased is never left alone. However, rather than being somber, these sittings are seen as an opportunity to celebrate the life of their friend or family member and these late-night hours are typically filled with wonderful conversation, singing, music, games, and food.
On the day of the funeral, the casket is removed from the home and transported to the church in a hearse. You can then expect a typical Catholic service complete with hymns, prayers, and Scripture readings. When the ceremony itself is over, the hearse transports the casket to the cemetery for burial.
Overall, the customs are very similar to those found in other Catholic communities in North America. However, there tends to be exceptionally large turnouts for Filipino funerals because death is viewed as an extremely significant event and loved ones from all over the world make it a priority to attend the service.
In the nine days following the death, Filipinos who were close to the deceased will say the rosary each day. This period of time is referred to as the novena. When they reach the end of the nine days, they mark the occasion with a celebratory meal. The rosary is repeated again forty days after the death and again at one year following the passing of their loved one.
While it is customary to wear dark clothes to the funeral, many Filipino families will choose to continue to wear black to demonstrate their grief. They may wear all black, tie a black ribbon around their arm, or wear a black pin to symbolize their mourning. Many do this for roughly six weeks following the passing of their loved one. If particularly close with the individual who died, they may choose to wear black clothes for up to a year.
It’s true that the majority of the Philippines is Catholic but that does not mean that all Filipino people will have a Catholic funeral. Filipinos of other religions tend to do things differently than the ways we mentioned above.
For example, a Muslim Filipino would not have a seven-day wake because they customarily bury the body within 24 hours of the passing. Also, some religions prefer to wear white instead of the customary black funeral attire.
Most funerary traditions are based on the religion of the deceased. Although predominantly Catholic, there are a lot of variations among the numerous Filipino funeral traditions. This guide, however, should give you a good idea of what to expect.
During this unprecedented time we want to assure our families and the communities we serve, that we will remain open and available to meet families. Our family care team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in person, by phone, text, email and video conferencing.
Services will proceed in accordance with suggested government guidelines of gatherings up to 10 people. We understand and anticipate attendance at services will diminish. To aid in social distancing, we are offering live stream services. We will also be recording and uploading services to a secure website to make the services accessible for those who are unable to attend.
We encourage everyone to follow the guidelines in regards to washing your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. We support these efforts and want to remind everyone to make use of our website to offer condolences and to communicate with the family.
In addition to our high standards of cleanliness and safety, we are taking extra precautions to sanitize and disinfect our facilities, especially high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, taps, washrooms, desks, computers etc.
We will continue to monitor and adhere to CDC guidelines, along with the recommendations of our federal and provincial health officials and do our best to share this information with you.
Our team of family care professionals also understand that this time has placed economic strain on many families. We are dedicated to helping you say goodbye to your loved one without placing an extra financial burden on you. There will also be no extra charges for delaying services if your wish is for us to shelter your loved one until this time passes and we can hold a larger gathering.
Joe, Kimberly Coffey and our family care team
Owners & Operators