Hallowe’en and the Philippine Ber-Months!

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Pam, my long time friend (from High School), sent me a message on Facebook and asked…

Do you celebrate Halloween in the Philippines?

I got to thinking that a few people might not know the answer to that, or about the Philippine Holiday Season, so here is what I wrote back…


Halloween – No trick-or-treaters here, but with millions of Filipinos in America (half of all Filipinos have a relative in the USA), so Halloween is catching on here too (any reason to have a party, right?

Christmas Caroling

Instead of trick-or-treat, they do Christmas Caroling during the “Ber-months”, where the singers should be paid one piso coin each (about 2 cents American).

All Saint’s and All Soul’s

The Philippines, Being Catholic, celebrates All Saint’s Day (Nov 1) and All Soul’s Day (Nov 2).

All Saint’s Day, is also called officially the “Solemnity of All Saints” and also called “Hallowmas” or “All Hallows.” On “Hallows Even” (the contraction of which is “Hallowe’en”, on Oct 31, the night before All Hallows) families gather in cemeteries to clean the graves of their relatives, and basically, that is where the party starts!  Alcohol, mixed together with dead relative worship, Catholic religious rites, street parties and discos set up on streets and local basketball courts!  I used to listen to the news reports on how many people died (accidents), were killed (murdered) and raped, but now I just leave the local news off till the 4th or 5th.

Other Christian Religions usually have more of a traditional church service, followed by a party for the young people, to keep them safe.  Muslims and Hindus just stay home.  Being we are none of those, we do not celebrate it.  We double lock the gate and doors and stay in for the evening.  It is really kinda crazy here, but at least the Philippines has no serial killers or nobody blowing up schools!


Of course, these are the “Ber-months”, which is pretty much a big party here, interrupted by a little work.  Ber-months (not Burr, but it is also colder – I love it! 75 degrees and cold!).  Ber-months acquired its name from the months that end in “ber” So from September through December, and winding down by Fe-ber-ary, there are many celebrations, which includes Chinese New Year’s and street dancing (Sinulog – think Tropical Island Macy’s Parade or Rose Parade, mixed with Mardi Gras – in the Philippines) in Mid-January.

Holiday Celebrations

There are many Philippine Celebrations during this time including:

  • Eid-ul-Adha (Muslim ‘festival of Sacrifice’) ~ October 26
  • All Hallows Even / Hallowe’en ~ October 31
  • All Saint’s Day ~ November 1
  • All Soul’s Day ~ November 2
  • American Thanksgiving (Catching on!) ~ November 3rd Thursday
  • Bonifacio Day (a Hero) ~ November 30
  • Noche Buena (Midnight Meal) ~ December 24
  • Christmas ~ December 25
  • Rizal Day (National Hero) ~ December 30
  • New Years Eve ~ December 31
  • New Years Day ~ January 1
  • Three Kings Day (Traditional Christmas, “December 25” on the Julian calendar) ~ January 6
  • Sinulog Festival ~ January 11-20 in 2013
  • Chinese New Year (Full Moon after First New Moon) ~ Jan 23 in 2013

Note: Most of these (not all) are actually non-working holidays!

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