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Superstition rules Day of the Dead

Philippines | Religion & Culture

MANILA – Superstitious beliefs are at their peak it seems during “Undas” or All Souls’ Day celebration on Nov. 2.

To make the day's events more dramatic, people, young and old wear bizarre costumes of the “evil one” during this annual fete.  The festivities prompted a local radio anchor to comment that Nov. 1, which is All Souls’ Day, should be given prominence instead because, in his view, it is more fitting to observe God’s glory through the saints.

Many Filipinos, especially those in the provinces, still believe the souls of their loved ones visit them during "Undas", and they prepare sumptuous dinners for their beloved and departed to partake.  Before eating, family members gather around the table laden with delicious foods, and the head of the family utters the words: “Papa and Mama take something to eat. This food is for you.”

The "Undas" observances take their place alongside numerous superstitions passed on by our
forefathers that the new Filipino generation in this third millennium
still believes.

Another common superstition involves a black cat that crosses your path, which is bad omen.   But if the cat turns and walks towards you, it is a sign of good fortune.  It is also commonly believed that when one breaks a mirror, it is bad
omen, and for the next seven years you will have bad luck.

Some Filipinos also believe that the number 13 has special powers, especially Friday the 13th, which many believers regard as an unlucky day.  In fact, many tall buildings in the Philippines avoid the number 13 altogether by skipping the numbering from the twelfth to fourteenth floors.

Filipinos also adhere to the idea that when one dies all windows in the house must be opened so the soul of the departed can leave the place.

Of course, the consequences of breaking a mirror or stepping over a cat - and exactly what path a departed soul takes at death - only God knows.  Only He is in full control of our lives and the things around us. 

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