Monday, February 13, 2023


Black cats crossing your path are bad news. Never walk under a ladder. Doing this and that brings good luck. Doing the opposite, bad luck. There are so many superstitions all around the world, with some becoming traditions that people keep doing not because they completely believe in them, but more because it is something that they have become accustomed to. Like when you knock on wood to avoid bad luck or when you have noodles during birthdays to wish for long life. Or when you choke on your food and people believe it is because someone is thinking of you. 

Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

We talked about some of the more popular Filipino superstitions and beliefs that we are aware of on the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded at the end of this post). During our discussion, we realized that several superstitions seemed to have logical reasoning behind them. One example of this is the Filipino concept of “sukob,” where siblings cannot marry in the same year. Logically speaking, this may have started for families to avoid spending a lot of money on weddings because having two children marry in the same year would cost too much. When you think about it, some superstitions may be the right excuse to get people to do (or not to do) things, especially if people would tend to do the opposite otherwise.  Another example is the belief that you should not sweep the floor at night as you will be sweeping the good luck away. Logically speaking, this may be something that came up one day when someone was too lazy to clean at night because they were too tired to do so and simply said it was bad luck. I’m not saying that this is what happened, but it is possible, right?

I would like to think that I don’t follow or believe in these superstitions, but I must admit that there are some things that I have followed out of habit or because I have been used to having these things followed since I was young. I grew up being aware of feng shui when it comes to how your home should be arranged, so I follow those rules. It’s more of an automatic thing than it is consciously wanting to follow it because I believe in the reasons why things can be right or wrong. The same goes for arranging fruits during the new year and a couple of other traditions. 

There are also some superstitions that I tend to let people around me believe in even if I didn’t. My thinking is that if it doesn’t hurt anyone to do it, I am not going to stop them. If it is something that gives them peace of mind to believe in or to follow, if it makes them happy, then so be it. I am not going to judge them for it. One example of that for me is when people ask me to cut the hair of their babies. Some people here in our area believe that if they want their child to have certain traits when they grow up, they should let a person with those traits be the first person to cut that child’s hair. It’s not necessarily a whole haircut, but just cutting a strand of hair would be enough. The parents then keep that strand of hair as their child grows up.   I’m flattered that I have been asked to do this several times. I may not believe it, but I am not against it. I don’t see anything wrong with giving in to their request to do this.

I can’t call myself superstitious, but I suppose given what I have shared here, I am superstitious-ish. I follow some superstitions but not necessarily for reasons that most people have, which is why it is not a big deal if there are times when I don’t follow them. 

Looking back on the Fandesals episode where we talked about Filipino superstitions, the show made me realize that given the beliefs that we discussed, we have an interesting culture. While there are foreign superstitions that are about gaining good luck and avoiding the bad in general, for Filipino culture these superstitions are a means to a certain end. Like jumping on the new year to become taller. Or the “puwera-usog” with babies where you want to avoid making them sick. Things promised by these beliefs may not necessarily happen if you follow them, but I think that is interesting how specific these beliefs can be. It makes me wonder if anyone has ever researched these Filipino superstitions and their origins because there might be more to this. 

For more on these Filipino superstitions, here is the Fandesals episode that I mentioned earlier. Hope you like it!


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