Halloween has just passed and, hopefully, you were able to visit the grave of your beloved departed. In the spirit of the Halloween season, here are 10 superstitious beliefs about Filipino funerals you are surely familiar with:

Do not wear red.

Wearing red (or other bright colors) in a wake is like celebrating the death of the departed. In some places, the departed’s immediate family would even wear black for an entire year.

Chick on the casket

When you see a chick on the casket, it means the departed is a victim of a crime. Usually, the relatives will also put some grains on it so that the chick will peck on them. The sound the pecking makes is believed to be like knocking on the perpetrator’s conscience.


“Turn yourself in, pretty please?”

No tears on the casket

When a departed is someone close to you, make sure you have a hanky when you go to his or her wake to wipe your tears during an emotional breakdown. Tears are not allowed to fall on the casket so that the soul of the departed will not have difficulty travelling to the afterlife.

Feel free to cry, though

In Chinese funerals, the family even pays professional mourners to wail loudly and encourage others to do the same. A quiet funeral without tears shows that the departed was not loved and disgraces the family.

Relatives cannot see the guests off

Being hospitable Filipinos that we are, normally, we see the guests off. We would even walk our friends to the tricycle terminal just to make sure they are safe. However, in a wake, the relatives are not allowed to see their guests off because it’s malas (bad luck). But maybe, it’s simply a reason our ancestors devised so the relatives could attend to their other guests. After all, a Filipino wake is always full of people.

Do not bring home the food from the funeral

Again, because it’s malas. But then, maybe it’s just another way of saying, “We are still expecting other guests. Thank you for being considerate.”


Pagpag literally means “to shake off the dust or dirt”; it is also a superstition that says you should not go straight home from a wake. Instead, spend some time somewhere else to confuse the spirits so that they would not follow you home. Usually, pagpag is done in a convenience store or a 24-hour fast food restaurant because, really, where else can you go in the wee hours of the night?

Kids should step or be carried over the casket

Doing this will ensure that the departed will not haunt them and give them nightmares. This one is rarely practiced, maybe because it is inconvenient to carry them over the casket especially if there are a lot of kids in the family.


In a Catholic wake, you might see the departed holding a rosary. The rosary will be cut by a relative before the burial so that death will not continue in the family.


Rosary on one hand, some cash on the other. I saw this when I was a kid and was wondering what the money is for. They said it was the departed’s baon so that they will have an easier travel to the afterlife. We are just caring like that.