Pag Pag


After a Filipino funeral or wake, it is a widely held superstition that the mourner does not return immediately to their home, but instead stops at another location before returning home. That way, the spirit of the deceased cannot follow you home.


The informant is my 67, and was born and raised in the Philippines, and still continues to live there. After the funerals she attended in her youth, she was told by her parents and other elder family members that they had to go someplace else, and could not immediately return home. Usually, this other location was a restaurant, where family members shared a meal before going home after the funeral.


The term “pag pag” literally means “to shake off something”, usually used in the context of dust or dirt. In other contexts, this term could refer to dusting off your shoes before entering the house. However, this “pag pag” is more meaningful and symbolic in that the thing you must shake off before entering the house is the deceased spirit from the person laid to rest at the funeral. Filipinos have many superstitions surrounding the dead, pag pag being one of them, and act as a means of warding off evil spirits or malevolent forces. By stopping at another location before going home, you avoid leading the spirit of the dead directly to your home, which Filipinos believe will bring bad luck.