It was my father’s first death anniversary on Monday, and someone asked if I would have a “babang-luksa,” an ending of the Filipino mourning period. I explained that I couldn’t yet, because my mother had died three months after my father. A babang-luksa would have to be in June at the earliest, and I’ll explain that qualifier later. This babang-luksa is marked by a meal with close relatives and friends, and an end to the use of mourning apparel, which used to be black clothing. These days though, with black having become a chic fashionable color, the color’s association with mourning has disappeared. The original purpose of having a mourning period was to express filial piety, marked by displays of sorrow, pain and sacrifice (no haircuts, at one time!). Times change: The black apparel gave way a long time ago to a small black cloth patch, which was further reduced to a black plastic pin and, lately for many people, no patch or pin at all. The colors are really arbitrary, assigned by culture. Many families in the Philippines, my own included, use white for funerals rather than black, white being the “correct” color for mourning in China, and also a way to deemphasize the gloom o...