By Tetchie Herrera
Filipinos are a superstitious lot. They have superstitions about everything under the sun, getting married or staying single, getting bad or good luck, if it rains on a certain day. You name it, they have a superstition about it.
Take, for example, when family members or friends are seated around the dining table, having a meal together. When one of them leaves the table before the others are finished eating, and bids the others goodbye after a few minutes, the others have to turn their plates clockwise before he/she leaves the place. Why? To ensure that the person leaving while the others are still eating doesn’t get into an accident outside. Really.
My high school friends with my husband and myself, enjoying lunch at Hokkaido Restaurant in Encino, California. (Photo by Omar Santos)
Also, while having that meal together inside their home, if any of the family drops a fork, the others would say that a male visitor is coming soon to the house. If it’s a spoon, then a female guest will be arriving soon. And don’t move to another chair while having a meal – you’ll marry again.
At home, one is not supposed to sweep the dust away from the house and outside the door. The old folks would say that’s bad luck – it’s like sweeping out your fortune out of the door. And don’t pay your debts at night. It’s bad luck, too!
My grandson Jakobi is watched over by their pet cat Merle, as he dreamed on. (Photo by Helena Herrera-Turner)
There are also Filipino superstitions about dreams as connected to gambling. In my mother’s time, Filipinos play the “numbers game” or jueteng which is actually illegal. One chooses two digits from 1 to 37 and places a bet on it from 25 centavos to a peso. One can win 400 pesos to a thousand depending on the location (Source: “Jueteng,” Wikipedia). If you dream of a boy, it means 1 or 10, so you can bet both numbers or either number with another. If you dream of fecal matter, you can bet 8 with as one of your numbers.
There are many other superstitious beliefs in the Philippines but those are the ones I can remember right now. How about you? Do you remember your former country’s superstitions as you were growing up? (Next week: Filipino Foods)