When I was a little girl growing up in the Philippines, I heard many superstitious beliefs – pamahiin or kasabihan ng matatanda. As I grew older, I have questioned the logic in these beliefs. Most of the time, I don’t believe in them, yet I follow what the superstition tells us just to be “on the safe side,” or because “there’s no harm in trying,” or just to please the elders.
I have learned a couple of superstitions due to the recent wake of Ate Alice. Yeah, Filipinos have carried their beliefs here half-way around the world.
“If the corpse is wearing any jewelry - a ring, a necklace, a watch, or anything that forms a circle – it should be broken/cut off. Or else there will be a series of deaths in the family.”
“The hosts should not bring home left-over foods from the wake or they will have a hard life.”
And this one I heard before when an older cousin – a seaman – disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, back in the ‘70s.
“There shouldn’t be three people in the picture. The one in the middle will die first.”
When my cousin disappeared, my aunts found this picture where my cousin was flanked between my two aunts. I heard them say, “Sinasabi ko na nga ba.” I think that this is the reason why I switch my kids places whenever I take pictures with just the three of them.
And of course, we Filipinos being Catholics pray the Novena for nine days to pray for the soul of our dearly departed.