Background: The informant is a 54 year old man. He was born in Pampanga, Philippines. The informant grew up as Catholic, later converting to evangelical Christianity and becoming a pastor. He was exposed to the tradition by living in the Philippines.
Context: The context was, when driving past a funeral procession, she was reminded of the tradition she experienced as a child.
PG: “During the the 10th anniversary, you know, for catholics, for catholics, if you know, you go to, uh, a church and ask for, uh, offer a mass, you know, you go to church to tell the priest that you want, uh, offer, you want to offer a mass for your, for the death anniversary of your loved ones, right? And then after that, we have, uh, like a celebration in the house, like invite people, friends and family, you know, to, like a party. And then after, and then, but before that, you, in the morning, you know, and also part of it is you go to the cemetery and offer flowers for the anniversary, so that’s the thing.”
Informant: The 10th anniversary is a major milestone when dealing with the anniversary of a loved one. It’s a time to commemorate the dead but also celebrate the person who has died. It doesn’t appear to be a sad celebration, but rather one that is enjoying what life has to offer.
Mine: While death is a tragic topic, the communal gathering after the death of someone, or on their anniversary, in this case, serves to dispel the tragic thoughts and focus on the happier aspects. In the Catholic tradition, the death anniversary appears to be a moment to celebrate how one has lived, rather than mourn that they are gone. Additionally, it serves as a moment in time for everyone to gather together, whether it be extended families, neighbors, or other community members. Death traditions can actually serve to bring together people the most. Flowers are a traditional gift to leave on gravestones, once again counter to the idea of life ending, as flowers typically symbolize life. By giving flowers on the gravestone, it’s as if they are bringing the dead person back to life for the day, so that they are able to celebrate with them.