Friday, October 30, 2009

Cremation: A More Practical Alternative

Hallows Eve 2009, Philippines. Majority of the Filipinos are now on a journey to their dearly departed ancestors' graves. It has become a yearly tradition that, every November 1, or a day before or after, they visit the cemeteries to celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

Over the years it has become a pandemonium of some sorts as more and more people create humongous traffic en route to the memorial parks.

For me, it has become a challenging task that this year, I am giving up on that yearly tradition. Imagine the circuitous path from, my grandfather's burial site at the public cemetery in Talisay City. My younger brother's remains is at the Burgos Public Cemetery in Bacolod City. And my grandmother's tomb is at Rolling Hills Memorial Park in Bacolod City.

Since I don't believe that the departed souls are still trapped in long decayed bodies in their tombs, I don't think then that it would be necessary to visit them there. The heat, the smell, the things to bring (candles, flowers, paint, food, chairs, tables, tents), the crowd, the pickpockets, the traffic. I would rather stay at home and medidate on memories of my departed loved ones.

Cremation has become a most practical and sanitary alternative in laying the deceased body to rest. While most Filipinos would rather keep the ashes intact in an urn and deposit it in a columbary, it still would mean a yearly visit to the cemetery and all the inconvenience that goes with it. In other cultures, the living simply spread the ashes of their loved ones into the sea, over a piece of land, into the air. I kind of like that idea because not only is it symbolic, it also eliminates the yearly and burdensome tradition Filipinos have imposed upon themselves.

As Pinoys quickly catch up on the trend whether it be good or bad, cremation-cum-spreading-the-ashes will just have to be the practical solution to all this Day of the Dead dilemma.

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