We never had this enduring tradition of paying visits to the cemetery every time the month of November comes. Partly because of religious orientation. Partly because of the fact that we never wanted to join the sea of flesh occupy the two-lane street leading the city’s old cemetery. It’s either before or after that October 31-November 2 block that we go and visit the graves of our ancestors. A few recollection though as a child were the tacas or paper-mache horses painted in red, toy carabaos with wheels, Batman action figure, and of course, the ever-present perya.
As I write this now, maybe it was the reason why I keep coming back to the perya. But those lone trips to the temporary ‘carnival’ focused mainly on color games, encountering one time a high school classmate and learning the trick of the game. But more than that, I enjoy the careless laughter and the general confusion of such place.
But to go back to cemetery visits, it has been several years now that I make it a point to pass by the grave of a dead elementary school classmate. It was a shock upon knowing that an energetic playmate in sikyo has passed away already. The visits have become more of a brief one-sided kamustahan.
I have mentioned to an intimate how some of the enduring stories used October 31 or November 1 or November 2 as part of the story. There’s Noli Me Tangere. There’s the Batman comics, the one entitled ‘The Long Halloween’. Then there’s the famous Harry Potter series where the young generation of the early 21st century learned that Harry’s parents were killed on a Halloween.
Can you add more to this very short list, dear reader?
A Carlos Bulosan book is in my reading list for this year and on one of his many short stories one short note was mentioned:
“Do you remember, Cardo,” said my father in the light of the full moon, “when we lived in the village and I told you that animals talk like human being at a certain time of the year?”
“I remember it, Father,” I said. “On All Souls Eve.”…*
In reading about Bulosan’s life, he really did not spend much time here in the Philippines. But I wonder if such belief actually existed and he wrote about it in this particular story. It’s also somewhat creepy when you come to think of it. But wouldn’t it be interesting to really witness it on an animal?
*Reference: Bulosan, Carlos. “The Rooster’s Egg” in The Philippines is in the Heart. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1978. p.7