FUNERAL PRACTICES – Here are the most popular Filipino superstitions and beliefs about wakes and funerals.
Wakes and funerals have long been associated with a lot of traditions and superstitions, woven into the fabric of various cultures. These beliefs often stem from a mix of ancient customs, cultural practices, and perhaps a touch of human fear and curiosity.
Superstitions about wakes and funerals, passed down from generation to generation. Many people adhere to these beliefs out of respect for their elders who have handed down these traditions. Even if one doesn’t personally believe, especially among millennials, these customs are often followed.
These superstitions stem from the concept that there is an afterlife and that the deceased must be prepared. The idea that ceremonies should honor the departed before their final rest is central to these beliefs, with the wake serving as a focal point for the elders’ superstitions.
Here are some common Filipino superstitions about wakes and funerals:
- Avoid wearing red or any ‘happy’ colors; black or white is recommended to show respect.
- The deceased should not wear shoes to allow their soul to roam freely for 40 days.
- Pregnant women should not attend wakes or funerals to avoid bringing bad luck.
During the Wake
- Do not let tears fall on the casket to prevent difficulty in the soul’s journey.
- Do not look at the deceased if you’re pregnant to avoid complications during childbirth.
- Men should not escort visitors to the door during wakes; otherwise, they might be the next to pass away.
- Do not serve pansit (noodles) during wakes, as it may prolong mourning, but it can be eaten after the burial.
- Avoid eating malunggay during wakes, as picking its leaves one by one symbolizes attracting more deaths.
- Do not bring home leftover food from the wake, as it may bring bad luck or invite the soul of the deceased.
After the Wake or Funeral
- Do not go home directly after the funeral; a detour, called ‘pagpag,’ is believed to shake off spirits and avoid bringing them home.
- Change clothes immediately upon returning home to avoid carrying grief and bad luck indoors.
- Pregnant women should avoid attending wakes altogether, as it is thought that the baby might follow the departed soul.
The superstitions vary across regions and religions in the Philippines, and while many may not believe in them, they are still observed out of respect for tradition and culture.