13 Food-Related Superstitious Beliefs in the Filipino Culture

25th November 2015

filipino superstitions

What are the common food-related superstitions in Filipino Culture?

  1. Dropping utensils means someone will be coming in for a visit.
  2. When your neighbor gives you food, do not wash the plate since it also washes away the ‘blessings’ given.
  3. Do not clean up the table when someone still has an unfinished plate because they will be unmarried and single forever.
  4. Make sure that there are no traces of food left and rice grain on your plate as it was believed to signify a lonely and unmarried life.
  5. If you suddenly choke while you are eating means that someone is talking about you.
  6. Expecting women who eat twin bananas during pregnancy will also have twin babies.
  7. Never bring home food from a wake or funeral otherwise, this will bring bad luck.
  8. A breech-born person can bring out the stuck fish bone from your throat.
  9. Purchase twelve round fruits for the New Year’s Eve to set the tone of the incoming new year.
  10. Eating pancit for long life.
  11. Breaking and seeing two egg yolks could mean wealth is coming your way.
  12. Do not leave the fridge empty on a New Year’s Eve for a prosperous new year.
  13. Singing while cooking will get you marrying a widow in the future.

Urban legends are deeply rooted in the Filipino culture and the same goes for superstitious tales. One may theorize that they came forth alongside with the many folklores and mythical tales told our lolo’s and lola’s passed on to them by our ancestors. You would think that these so called mysterious superstitions would have died down, but even so, many of us still tend to bite their finger when they make a habit of pointing at a tree branch and even saying the phrase tabi tabi po, makikiraan lang when passing by its roots.

Superstitious beliefs have played a major role in the Filipino culture, which is to say, have expanded our creativity and the amount of respect for our ethnic background, kinda like how a wedding catering plays an important part when managing a successful wedding. So before you taste all those authentic and mouthwatering dishes, here are some of the most unusual dining superstitions Filipinos have.

Dropping utensils means someone will be coming in for a visit. We’ve all heard of this from our parents that when you drop a utensil, someone is bound to drop by at your house. When you drop a fork, it means your visitor would be a male and when it is a spoon, then it’s a woman. So when a utensil drops, expect this phrase to be uttered by someone. It’s a norm.

When your neighbor gives you food, do not wash the plate since it also washes away the ‘blessings’ given. But you might feel it’s rude to do so. Although, when you think about it this way, it saves you from the hassle of cleaning up and wasting water and dishwashing liquid, right?

Do not clean up the table when someone still has an unfinished plate because they will be unmarried and single forever. Yikes! Well, it does implement some discipline that you should wait for everyone else to finish and have their full before you clean the table since it is a bit rude and it shows bad etiquette if you rudely interrupt someone from eating just to clean up the space in her side of the table.

Make sure that there are no traces of food left and rice grain on your plate. Each rice grain can only signify the days you will spend in purgatory, hence the single and unmarried life. This is actually a good lesson to teach your kids so that there are no foods wasted.

If you suddenly choke while you are eating means that someone is talking about you. Hmm, and you are about to hope that this “someone” is your crush then let’s hope he’s not the one choking right now.

Expecting women who eat twin bananas during pregnancy will also have twin babies. From a logical standpoint, it would be best to assume that having twins is by no mean related to what food or fruit you eat. Science can prove that easily. Well, genetics actually. The same goes with the superstition that a pregnant woman should avoid eating luya or ginger because the fetus may grow extra fingers or toes. Again, genetics.

Never bring home food from a wake or funeral otherwise, this will bring bad luck. If you’ve watched the Filipino movie “Pagpag”, you’ll notice that this particular superstition of bringing home food from a funeral has been one of the reasons that brought bad luck to one of the characters. And while this may not be true in reality, most Filipinos believe this superstition as it’s particularly safer to do it; avoiding lingering spirits of the dead from going over to one’s home. Scary.

Hence, if you’re in a funeral and someone or your friend tends to bring home food (for the reason that it’s free, of course), expect that one of the visitors will tell that person that.

A breech-born person can bring out the stuck fish bone in you. This superstition can be explained by science, regardless, some still expect that breech-born people, those that are born feet-first, can get stuck fish bone down from within people’s throat smoothly. Surprisingly, suhi (in vernacular term) are thought to be in-born gifted healers – where they are expected to have the gift of touch, thus being able to relax muscles. Anyway, science knows.

Purchasing twelve round fruits for the New Year’s Eve. As you would’ve known, it has been a norm in the Filipino culture to collect twelve round fruits for the New Year’s Eve to set the tone of the incoming new year. As much as you don’t want to believe it, because it’s really difficult to collect twelve with the people rushing into stores and in the market, you’ll probably be called out by your Mom just to collect those – before the clock strikes twelve. Else, you’re doomed for the whole year. Yikes.

Eating pancit for long life. Your Mom or your Lola would have always prepared you pancit or long noodles on every family member’s birthday for the sole reason that it signifies having a longer life. However, in a nutritionist’s perspective, the truth about pancit is that it contains too many ingredients hence it’s rich in calories. So why? Unless, they prepare a vegetarian pancit, that is.

Breaking and seeing two egg yolks could mean wealth is coming your way. Well, as this has already been a part of the norm, most expects that this could happen – along with a good breakfast, of course.

Do not leave the fridge empty on a New Year’s eve for a prosperous new year. Most people believe this superstition, though, that’s pretty effective because truly storing food in your fridge definitely signifies abundance in food and health – you eat and get nutrition, pretty much understandable.

Singing while cooking will get you marrying a widow in the future. This superstition has been said to be brought about by employers who have maids singing while cooking, and to avoid showering saliva onto the food, they use this tactic to scare them off. Now, that’s very much logical.

Key Takeaway

So, do you believe in any of these superstitions mentioned above? If you know any other superstitions aside from these, share them with us in the comment box below.

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