Despite the fact that superstitious beliefs don’t have a rational basis hasn’t prevented them from making inroads into almost every community existing in the world. In this respect, many Filipinos are superstitious and believe that many superstitions have the power to influence future events and occasions. Superstitions have played a key role in Filipino culture and they continue to have a significant impact on major episodes in life including birth, death, marriage, health, fortune and romance.
Most of the superstitions associated with the Filipino culture have been handed down from generation to generation like heirlooms and bequests. Majority of the superstitions that are deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture are utterly outlandish to say the least and thoroughly impractical but following these fallacies don’t cause any harm. Abiding by these superstitions will not come in the way of leading an active daily life.
Now, following or not following the superstitions is a matter of personal choice. Some of the ageless and most popular superstitions have been listed below:-
Twin babies will be born to a pregnant woman if she consumes two bananas joined at the stalk or in between.
If utensils slip from hands or are dropped by mistake, it signals the visit of guests. The slipping of spoons mean the guest will be female and incase of a fork, it’ll be a man.
Sweeping the broom at nighttime implies brushing away the fortune.
As with other cultures, the number 13 is regarded as unlucky in Filipino culture too and therefore you’ll not come across any house or apartment floor bearing this number.
Dogs wailing or hollering at night, a black cat crossing a path or a road, and a photo hung on the wall coming unstuck and falling are considered omens.
Getting choked while eating signifies that somebody is taking your name and remembering you.
The Bayanihan Spirit is instilled deeply in the cultural mores and practices of the Filipinos. The empathetic spirit of helping out your neighbors and fellow countrymen was incorporated into the Philippine culture many centuries back much before the nation was colonized. Filipinos have always gone out of the way to help their brethren whenever they were in distress in every possible manner and this spirit of empathy is still very much intact.
Perhaps no other community understands better than the Filipinos the significance of ‘Bayanihan’ or community service where joining hands to complete a task can make accomplishing the same convenient. In earlier times, when the rural regions of Philippines were actually pastoral in the true sense of the term, the villagers came together to help a family relocate from one place to another. The Filipino home, traditionally known as ‘Bahay-Kubo’ is a very simple structure that is constructed out of bamboo shoots or poles and nipa leaves (palm leaves interwoven with grass thatching).
Whenever a family decided to shift to a new location, they looked upon their neighbors to help them in completing the relocation job. And there was no dearth of volunteers as people were only too willing to lend a helping hand. The task of moving the house comprised tying bamboos underneath the house in the first stage.
In the 2nd stage, a team of volunteers that usually comprised a group of 15-20 men tried to raise the stilt up from the ground and carry the home forward with the end of the bamboo pole balanced on their shoulders. The womenfolk encouraged the volunteers by clapping and cheering them to move on. However, with passage of time the age-old practice of shifting homes has become a thing of the past as rural zones are fast turning into concrete jungles.
Nevertheless, the Bayanihan fellow-feeling spirit is still alive and kicking in the Filipinos.
Historically speaking, ‘Bayanihan’ is an ancient Filipino tradition in which the rural communities engaged in community work, especially in helping a family to relocate. The male members lent a helping hand in shifting the personal assets and belongings of the relocating family. However, their chief task was to assist the family in transferring the entire house from the old location to the new one in one piece.
Uprooting and lifting a house and thereafter installing the same in a different place are by no means an easy task but the task was rendered so primarily because of two reasons. Firstly, homes in the pastoral Philippines were constructed out of nipa leaves and bamboo poles making them more lightweight in comparison to concrete houses. Secondly, since almost all the healthy males from the community contributed towards making the relocation successful, the errand seemed lighter.
The word or expression ‘Bayanihan’ is derived from the Filipino word ‘Bayan’ which stands for community, town or nation and therefore the terminology in the extrapolated sense implies being involved in a ‘bayan’ or in community service. Those who volunteered to help the family relocate used to tie bamboo posts in order to raise the stilts. A maximum of 15-20 volunteers were sufficient to carry the house on their shoulders supported on bamboo poles.
After the transfer was complete, the family served a wholesome meal to those who had helped make the transfer possible out of gratitude. Although the practice has now stands forsaken as more and more rural regions are becoming concretized urban jungles, the traditional Bayanihan spirit of helping others spontaneously still lives on. Filipinos are strongly of the opinion that it is their duty to help fellow countrymen (kababayans in Filipino) in every way possible. This spirit of fellow-feeling that Filipinos have for one another is brought to the fore when an earthquake or tornado strikes.