We, Filipinos, are a superstitious bunch. Everything we do, we have one or two superstitions about. If you grew up in a Filipino household, you were probably stopped from doing something because of a superstition. You can sweep the floor at night but you can't sweep the dust and dirt out of the house because all the good luck would be swept away with them. When you see a big moth inside the house, it means a spirit of a relative has visited you. You have to wear polka-dotted clothes during New Year so you'll have a lot of blessings for the entire year. And so on.
Most superstitions were brought by the cultures that have colonized us, particularly Chinese and Spaniards. Deep down, we don't really believe in them and we don't see the logic behind them, but we follow them, anyway. Just in case.
Holy Week is no stranger to superstitions. We've compiled the common ones into a short list. See if you or your older relatives believe in them. If you have more to add, feel free to do so in the comments!
No meat allowed.
As a way of commemorating God’s sacrifices and sufferings, it has become a tradition among Filipinos to not eat meat during Holy Week. But fasting is more than refraining from eating meat. Fasting, in general, is refraining from indulging ourselves with the things that we like so much.
Say, for example, you like chocolates. You can do your part in fasting by not eating any during Holy Week.
No to traveling.
Going out during Good Friday and Black Saturday is highly discouraged. It is believed that God is dead during those days so evil spirits are wandering more freely. To avoid accidents, we’re told to stay indoors from Friday to Saturday.
This is a bit hard to do since most working adults go home to be with their family and friends during Holy Week. Since it’s the only time they get to get together, they would naturally want to go out.
Most adults disregard this superstition because of that. But parents and grandparents instill fear in the hearts of kids by telling them these tales.
Wounds take longer to heal.
In relation to the ban on traveling during Good Friday and Black Saturday, we are also told to take extra care of ourselves. No playing intense games. Be careful when using sharp knives. In fact, just stay at home and don’t move a muscle because if you get injured, it will take a long time to heal.
No to disruptive noise.
No shouting. No karaoke. No music. Since we believe God is dead, we treat Friday and Saturday as a funeral. When you are at a funeral, you do not shout, speak loudly, laugh, or sing. That’s just how it is. Some elders see noise during Holy Week as a sign of disrespect and disregard to God’s death.
Let’s just save our celebratory music for Easter Sunday.
Putting up "palaspas" on doors to ward off evil.
You have probably attended masses during Easter and saw people wave these ornately woven palm branches ever since you were a kid. And you probably wondered why.
Easter Sunday is a celebration of God’s entry to Jerusalem. People commemorate the event by waving palm branches that are woven and intricately designed. The palm branches are said to ward off evil spirits. Traditionally, you hang one of these things on your front door or your windows, where one can literally go in and out.
Our palaspas needs to be blessed by the priest in order for it to have an effect. Otherwise, it’s just woven leaves.