MANILA, Philippines—Whereas visiting cemeteries and columbaria throughout All Souls’ Day, or each 2nd of November, has been a everlasting fixture of Undas custom amongst many Filipinos, some select to honor their deceased kinfolk by lighting candles and inserting these exterior their properties as a substitute.
Households gathering in mausoleums, individuals lighting candles and leaving flowers on cement graves, and rows of distributors promoting candles and flowers. These are the standard scenes each Undas within the Philippines.
Nevertheless, for some — together with those that can not go to cemeteries and columbaria — the traditions are carried out even within the consolation of their properties.
In such situations, a technique Filipinos bear in mind their departed family members is by lighting candles exterior their properties, sometimes close to their doorsteps or gates, and leaving these burning for the remainder of the night time.
A spiritual custom
Throughout Undas, many mild up candles as a type of providing or sacrificial reward for departed family members. Most Filipinos likewise imagine candles must be lit not just for kinfolk and buddies who died but in addition for misplaced souls who search to be remembered each Undas.
In a predominantly Catholic nation, such because the Philippines, candles are normally lit for prayer intentions. The act of lighting a candle, most religious Catholics imagine, helps drive away any evil spirit.
“Personally, I imagine that by lighting candles throughout Undas, we bear in mind and honor the souls of our departed family members. Moreover, that is our technique to pay respects and pray for the souls of our family members,” defined Nelle Gaboy in an interview with INQUIRER.internet.
In line with Gaboy, lighting candles throughout prayer is taken into account a symbolic and reverent follow amongst Catholic devotees.
“Whether or not throughout private prayers, spiritual providers, or visits to a church, the act of lighting a candle goes past expressing and acknowledging Christ because the Gentle of the World. Additionally it is a technique to search steerage and provide supplications,” she added.
For Helen Yap, the long-standing Filipino custom helps information the souls of those that have died as they embark on their journey to the afterlife.
“We mild a candle close to our door each Nov. 2 as a result of we imagine that the sunshine of the candle will assist souls to see their path, for them to go to Heaven. That’s the oldest cause I do know, which I heard from elders after I was younger,” Yap informed INQUIRER.internet.
Whereas this Undas follow has been lengthy related to spiritual beliefs, each Gaboy and Yap stated it has additionally grow to be a part of Filipino tradition.
Fireplace and security dangers
Nevertheless, the yearly custom of lighting candles for the souls of the deceased additionally comes with security dangers.
Prior to now years, a number of fires throughout Undas — or from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 — brought on by unattended lighted candles have been reported, which frequently precipitated deaths and left many individuals homeless.
Information from the Fireplace Arson Investigation Division (FAID), Directorate for Intelligence and Investigation (DII) of the Bureau of Fireplace Safety (BFP) confirmed that from 2018 to 2022, a complete of 447 hearth incidents transpired throughout Undas throughout completely different components of the nation.
The very best variety of Undas-related hearth incidents was 125 in 2018, 34 of which occurred within the Nationwide Capital Area (NCR).
Final 12 months, there have been solely 5 hearth incidents recorded throughout the Undas vacation. These incidents occurred in Western Visayas and MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan).
In line with BFP, the highest causes of fireplace incidents throughout Undas had been:
- Open flame: 161 (open flame from an unattended lighted candle: 97)
- Electrical: 116 (electrical ignition as a result of unfastened connection: 59)
Different doable causes of fireplace throughout the stated interval embody lighted matchsticks or lighters, open flames from kerosene lamps, and overheated house home equipment.
Each Undas, the BFP reminds the general public to watch hearth security, particularly when leaving lighted candles exterior properties.
Stopping candle-related fires
Again then, Yap recalled, individuals had been normally suggested to go away burning candles exterior their properties in a single day, particularly in rural areas or provinces. Nevertheless, fires have made individuals extra cautious when practising this Undas custom.
“[N]ow, as I noticed, when individuals would fall asleep, they be sure that there aren’t any lighted candles [outside their homes]. Individuals are cautious [that leaving lighted candles] would possibly trigger a fireplace,” Yap stated.
“For us, we mild a candle earlier than six within the night and put it off earlier than we sleep,” she stated, including that they normally go away the candles burning for no less than 4 hours.
Gaboy likewise stated she and her household at all times be sure that they apply precautionary measures when lighting candles outdoor for All Souls’ Day.
“[W]e be certain that candles positioned in secure holders aren’t left unattended whereas nonetheless burning,” she stated, explaining that they don’t normally have a particular time set for leaving lighted candles unattended.
“This precaution is essential, particularly since we reside in a compound residential space,” she continued.
In line with BFP, the general public can keep away from or forestall candle-related fires throughout Undas by adhering to those security precautions:
- Hold candles away from objects that may catch hearth, corresponding to curtains, wooden, dry leaves, garments, and others.
- Extinguish the candle correctly after the ceremony. Guarantee it’s not scorching earlier than storing it.
- Put together a fireplace extinguisher or any fire-extinguishing materials, corresponding to a bucket of water or sand.
In case of fires or different emergencies, BFP strongly suggested the general public to name 911 — the nationwide emergency hotline.
Burn candle safely
In the USA, the Nationwide Candle Affiliation (NCA) and the Nationwide Fireplace Safety Affiliation (NFPA) have issued basic pointers on how you can burn a candle safely.
These embody trimming the wick of the candle to 1/4 inch and eradicating any particles left within the wax pool, corresponding to wick trimmings or discarded matches, earlier than lighting a candle.
“Any particles will add extra gas to the candle than it’s designed to deal with. An excessive amount of gas could cause the flame to unexpectedly flare up and even begin a small hearth close to the candle flame,” the rules learn.
“Wicks which might be left lengthy or crooked could cause uneven burning, dripping, flaring, and sooting,” it added.
The NCA additionally famous that candles shouldn’t be left burning longer than the advisable length indicated within the producer’s directions.
“Burning a candle for too lengthy will trigger carbon to gather on the wick, main it to “mushroom.” The wick will then grow to be unstable and produce a dangerously massive flame,” it defined.
“Usually, it is suggested that candles don’t burn for longer than 4 hours and funky for no less than two hours earlier than relighting,” the NCA added.
A examine by the US Client Product Security Fee recommended that 85 p.c of candle fires might be averted if customers adopted three primary security guidelines:
- By no means go away a burning candle unattended.
- By no means burn a candle on or close to something which may catch hearth.
- Hold candles out of the attain of kids and pets.
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