Rituals

Here are some of the rituals performed by the elders and folks in different provinces in the Philippines.

Cebuano

Beliefs and practices govern almost all aspects of agriculture. The tamblan is often called to perform the practice of bayang or buhat before lands are cultivated. A dish of white chicken or white pork is offered to the unseen owner. Before planting, a table with cooked rice, chicken, wine or buyo is set in the open and offered to the spirits who are asked to grant a good harvest. If planting is to be done during a new moon in May or June, rice is toasted and then ground with sugar in a mixture called paduya. The paduya is then baked, divided into 24 parts, and wrapped in banana leaves and offered the night before planting to the aswang who protects the field. For harvest blessings pangas may also be prepared in a basket from a mixture of rice, medicinal herbs, palm fruit and a wooden comb.

There are specific practices depending upon the crop being planted. During the planting of rice, one must not hurt or kill the taga-taga, an insect with protruding antennae believed to be soul of the palay, or else this cause a bad harvest. A good harvest is likely when its tail points upwards.

In planting corn, the first three rows should be planted at sundown. This is the time when chicken and other fowl are in their roosts and if they do not see where the seeds are planted; they will not dig up the seeds. If it rains while the farmer is planting, it is a sure sign that the seeds will not germinate. Persons with few of broken teeth should not plant corn to prevent the corn from bearing sparse and inferior grains.

In coconut planting, so that the nut will grow big and full, seedlings must be placed on open ground during a full moon. They should be planted at noontime when the sun is directly overhead and shadows are at their shortest. This is so the coconut trees will bear fruit soon, even if they are not yet very tall. While planting coconuts, it would help if one is carrying a child so that the tree will yield twice as many nuts.

Bananas should be planted in the morning or at sunrise with young plants carried on the farmer's back so the branches will have compact and large clusters.

Sticks should not be used when planting cassava lest the tubers develop fibers that are not good to eat. Ubi, on the other hand, is a sacred root crop. If it is dropped on the ground, it has to be kissed to avoid divine fury called gaba. Planters must lay clustered fruits on three hills for an abundant harvest of camote or sweet potato. It is believed that planters must remove their shirts, lie on the ground and roll over several times during a full moon. Crops planted near the diwata's place or during thunderstorms will become rat infested.

During harvesting, if the crops are poor, the farmers prepare biku, budbud, ubas, tuba, guhang, twelve chickens, pure rice, tobacco and tilad. These they place under a dalakit tree in the fields as offering to the spirits.

Rice harvesting entails more intricate rituals. A mixture called pilipig is prepared from seven gantas of young palay added to ubas (grapes), bayi-bayi(ground rice), grated coconut and sugar. This mixture is pounded in a mortar and brought out at midnight. At midnight, the farmers call the babaylan to chant prayers while they surround him/her with smoke.

Fisherfolk have their own ways of soliciting the favors of the other world. During a full moon, a mananapit is asked to pray for a good catch and to bless the fishing nets and traps with herbs and incense. To cast off evil spirits, fisherfolk at sea mutter tabi meaning "please allow small yellow copper key under their belts to protect themselves from being devoured by a big fish. Divers eat the flesh of the cooked turtle for greater stamina underwater. Fisherfolk avoid bad luck by neither sitting nor standing in front of their fishing gear and by returning home by way of the route used when setting out the sea. To avail of future bounty, fisherfolk using new traps must throw back half of their first catches.

Houses

In building houses, spirits believed to roam the world of the living must be considered. Spirits like dwelling in caves and ought not to be disturbed by the construction of a house nearby. A good site for a house is determined by burying three grams of rice wrapped in black cloth at the center of the lot. If a grain is missing when they are unearthed three days after, the site is not suitable for it will cause illness. February, April, and September are the months to build houses. To bring prosperity and peace to the owners, coins are placed in each posthole before the posts are raised. The ladder of the house should face east to ensure good health. A full moon symbolizes a happy home life when moving to a new house. For the moving family to be blessed, they should boil water in a big pot and invite visitors to stay overnight in their new house. A ritual is also performed against evil spirits during the inauguration of the public buildings, bridges, and other structures.

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