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"Pangangaluluwa" or Trick-or-Treat?

A few days ago, some of my grandchildren had the rare opportunity to do Trick-or-treating at the White House and have a photo with the President and First Lady after giving them each a bar of candy. They were in their costumes: Batman, Twilight Sparkle, Sofia, etc.

Tonight, children, also in their Halloween costumes, will come to our door to say "trick or treat" and we will give them candy.

Halloween, as practiced in America, has a counterpart in the Philippines, but there are differences.

"Pangangaluluwa" (pronounced: "pah-ngah-ngah-loo-lwah") is a Filipino tradition, now mostly seen only in the provinces, during which a group of children and adults, who may or may not be in costumes, stop by different houses on the night of All Saints’ Day (November 1st), singing and asking for alms and prayers. The people represent the souls still in purgatory, asking for prayers from the living.

This tradition is based on the Christian belief that our souls live after death, and if they are not yet ready to be accepted in heaven, they suffer for some time in purgatory to be cleansed of the effects of sin. The living can help shorten that waiting by offering prayers for them.

Below is an example of Tagalog verses sung during pangangaluluwa:

"Souls are here before your window

Ringing little bells

Waking up your household.

If you are going to give us alms

Could you please not tarry

So that the gate of heaven will not close on us."

These next two days, the Church celebrates two feasts in her liturgical calendar: All Saints' Day on November 1st and All Souls' Day on November 2nd. These feasts remind us of what compose the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ: The Church Triumphant -- who are her members now with God in heaven; the Church Suffering -- who are the souls in purgatory; and we, the Church Militant still fighting the forces of Evil and his Tricks on earth on our way to heaven, God's everlasting Treat.

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters of the Church Suffering, and for ourselves, the Church Militant. And let us ask our brothers and sisters now in heaven to pray for us to God, with Whom they are now dwelling!

Trick or Treat?#

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