Although we originally wanted to cover only the ones related to Undas, we figured it would do more justice to the richness of Filipino culture — not to mention more in line with the spirit of the season — if we talked about superstitions in general. If you've ever wondered why Filipinos do or don't do certain things during specific situations, here's why.
1. Once a person dies, all windows in their house must be opened. This is to allow the dead to move on to the afterlife.
2. Cover all mirrors with cloth during a wake. If this isn't done, the dead might show themselves in the mirrors. It's also considered bad luck to look at your reflection during a wake.
3. Avoid going to funerals if you have a sick loved one. Or, if you must attend, avoid peering into the coffin to see the dead body. Otherwise, your sick loved one will follow shortly after.
4. Avoid going to funerals if you're pregnant. Otherwise, it will be bad luck for the fetus.
5. Avoid bringing home food from funerals. Like the Chinese, Filipinos also offer food to their dearly departed. Take these home with you, and you'll invite misfortune into your household.
6. Avoid going straight home after a funeral. Otherwise, bad luck will follow. If you must go home, make sure you take a different and longer route to throw off the spirits who may be after you.
7. Do not sweep the floor during a wake. This will drive the spirits of dead loved ones away from your house.
8. Remove the shoes from the dead. This is to avoid hearing their footsteps in case they decide to linger on the mortal plane.
9. Give the dead a broken rosary and some money. The rosary must be broken, so that family members won't die in quick succession. Likewise, the money will serve as fare in the afterlife, and the surviving family members can keep that money after the wake for good luck, or use it to start a successful business.
10. Do not sweep the floor at night. This will sweep the good luck out of your house.
11. Thirteen is an unlucky number. Similar to Westerners, Filipinos are also afraid of the number thirteen. It's said that Friday the 13th is doubly unlucky, because accidents are more likely to happen during that day. Also, many buildings in the Philippines do not have a 13th floor, or skip straight to the 15th from the 12th floor.
12. If you come across a black cat, misfortune will follow. To avert this, go straight home and cancel any appointments you have for the day.
13. Avoid breaking mirrors. For every mirror you break, you'll have seven years of bad luck.
14. Avoid posing for a picture in groups of three. Otherwise, the person in the middle of the picture will die.
15. If it rains while it's sunny, it means a tikbalang is getting married. A tikbalang is a creature with the body of a man and the head of a horse. The creature is notorious for leading travelers astray, and the only way to counteract their magic is to turn your clothes inside out.
16. Women shouldn't sing while they're cooking. Unless they want to grow old as spinsters, of course.
17. If a pregnant woman eats "twin bananas" (that is, two bananas joined together side-by-side), she'll give birth to twins. At one point, giving birth to twins was considered an insult, so this used to be a no-no.
18. If someone sees you without your head, it means you're about to die. The same goes for pictures in which your face is blurred for no apparent reason.
19. Say "Tabi tabi po" (Excuse me, please) when passing by nuno dwellings. Nuno, or the Filipino equivalent of goblins, are believed to inhabit places such as termite mounds, fallen trees, rocks, caves and riverbanks. If you don't give the respect due to them, they will curse you with illness and misfortune.
20. Say "Tao po" (Anyone here?) before entering a home. This isn't just a show of courtesy for the human dwellers. It's also to let the house's supernatural residents — such as the aforementioned nuno — know that you acknowledge their territory.
There are plenty more where these superstitions came from. If you know of others that aren't occasion-specific, or if you have other fascinating Filipino superstitions to share, type them out in the comments!