We have superstitions here in the US.
– Don’t walk past a black cat
– The number 13 is bad luck (Friday the 13th, most high rise buildings don’t have a 13th floor…)
– Don’t walk under a ladder
There’s more of this in the Philippines. Julia (my content OFS) writes:
Even though a lot of us aren’t that superstitious anymore, it’s deeply rooted in our culture here in the Philippines.
Take the greeting we use when we enter someone’s home, “Tao po”. When you enter a Filipino’s home, we use the traditional greeting “Tao po” as we’re knocking on the door. Tao po literally means, “I’m a person.” It’s a habit. We don’t really think much about it when we say it.
But we use this greeting because of the pre-colonial pagan belief that elemental creatures walk among us. They play tricks like hiding your things or knocking on your door. Saying “Tao po” is reassuring the homeowner that we’re humans, not spirits.
We also believe these elemental creatures live in large, old trees, rocks, and mounds of earth. So it’s considered good manners to say, “Tabi-tabi po” (excuse me) when you pass by places with them. Announcing your presence shows that you respect these creatures, so they stay out of your way. If you fail to do this, the creatures can curse you.
Everybody has a story about how one of their family members got sick because they weren’t polite to the spirits, so being rude just to spite them isn’t worth it. I don’t believe this, but I still say “tabi tabi po” because I don’t want to risk it.
Image from https://filmfreeway.com/TabiTabiPo
Superstition is even a cottage industry in the Philippines. In front of a lot of churches, you’ll find fortune tellers and faith healers. You’ll see people selling folk medicine, talisman, and charms beside rosaries, candles, and religious statues.
Some places even showcase these beliefs as part of their tourism campaigns.
Obando, a municipality in Bulacan (21.7 km from Manila), is renowned for its Anitist fertility festival. Childless couples dance in a procession every May to honor Tagalog fertility gods and Catholic saints. It’s said that they will grant you a child if you offer chicken eggs to the church altar (for the saints) and dance with all your heart (for the deities).
Mark, one of our developers, is from Siquijor. Siquijor is a magical island because of how prevalent witchcraft and traditional healing are. People flock there to get their fortunes told, for healing, or to hex people. The practice is so widespread you can even buy love potions and folk remedies as souvenirs!
Lizards and tree barks are used to make potions.
Image from: https://dumaguete.com/siquijor/witches-and-healers-in-siquijor/
When I lived in Brazil for 2 years as a missionary I remember some of their superstitions.
– If you drink cold water when it’s hot outside you’ll get sick
– A 2 liter bottle full of water on top of your homes power meter will lower your electricity bill