Dec 26, 2007


During Papa's wake, I was itching to sweep the floor. My grandparents' house is right by the beach and the carpet was/is a total mess! I asked Mama if I could sweep the floor. At least five people answered: NO! - if I did, that means that everyone else in the family will die. We'll be 'swept' by death. So I didn't sweep the floor.

There were a gazillion other don'ts that drove me nuts:

- Don't serve/eat chicken.
- Don't trim your fingernails at night.
- Don't comb your hair at night.
- Don't serve/eat bananas.
- Don't throw away garbage.
- Don't ever leave the dead unattended. Which was fine with me, I almost never left Papa's side the whole time anyway.
- Don't serve/eat kalamunggay.
- Don't take a shower when you haven't slept.
- Don't take food from inside the house to other people's houses. Which is a pity since we had tons of food and some of them ended up spoiled.

And then there were the quite sensible don'ts:
- Don't party.
- Don't wear red. Red is perceived as something you wear when you're happy therefor it is a big no-no.
- Don't wear too much makeup. A lot of crying is involved and you'll end up with a messy face. Plus its hot and humid. Makeup's gonna melt anyway.

I asked who made up these rules and no one can give me solid answers. My grandma says let's not go against what the "katigulangan" (elders) believe. There is a reason for their beliefs. And that we shouldn't be the ones to test these beliefs. I really wanted to sweep the floor, but I decided to humor my grandmother. She has enough grief to deal with.

When I left, the floor was unswept, the garbage in bags behind the house and I desperately wanted fried chicken. But I won't be testing these beliefs.

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