If you want to enjoy your meals in peace, remember these Filipino superstitions
There are few things that are important to Filipinos. Aside from family, there’s food, and then there are our beliefs. Superstitions are one of the most obvious expressions of our cultural beliefs and unsurprisingly, there are a great number of pamahiin that involve food and eating. Next time you eat with family members, take note of these Filipino mealtime superstitions and stay on the good side of Lady Luck.
Don’t clear out dishes while someone is still eating
Some people may eat quickly, while others like to take their time. Either way, what’s important, especially when dining with fellow Filipinos, is to make sure you stay put and don’t clear out the plates if someone else isn’t done. They say that if you do this, the one left still eating won’t be able to get married. We don’t know the logic behind this, but we’re not taking our chances.
A utensil that falls can indicate the gender of a guest
Another common belief is that you can tell what guest you might be receiving by the type of utensil that falls during a meal. If a spoon falls, the guest will be a woman. On the other hand, if a fork falls, it’ll be a man.
It’s bad luck to bring home food from a wake or funeral
In the same vein that you’re not supposed to head home straight after attending a funeral, you also shouldn’t bring any food home. If the family of the deceased offers you food during your visit to the wake, consume it there. Don’t take it home. They say that if you do so, it will also attract spirits to follow you home.
You may also like: A beginner’s guide to Filipino superstitions: Funeral edition
Every grain of rice you leave behind on your plate corresponds to the number of years your soul will spend in purgatory
This feels more like a threat against leaving food waste, but many Filipinos say that if you do leave rice behind, you’ll likely be delayed getting into heaven. Either way, it’s just not a good idea to leave food behind.
Turn your plates if someone is leaving the house
If your loved ones are leaving the house while you’re eating, you have to turn your plate around. They say this is so that the people departing for a trip won’t get lost or get into accidents.
If you choke while eating, someone’s thinking of you
If someone chokes—in Filipino, called “mabulunan” (or “masamid” in the case of drinking)—you can count on a Filipino to say, “may nakaalala sa’yo” (someone remembered you). To know who’s thinking of or talking about you (and therefore causing your choking fit), ask your dining companions to give you a number. The number will correspond to the first letter of the name of the one who allegedly thought of you.
Pregnant women who eat twin bananas will have twin babies
Sometimes we buy bananas from the market and they’ll have some pieces that may be conjoined—twin bananas, so to speak. They say that if a pregnant woman eats this, she’ll end up with twins, too. I guess this is a case of “you(r babies) are what you eat”?