Nationality: Filipino American
Occupation: Healthcare Receptionist
Residence: Long Beach
Date of Performance/Collection: April 27 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Tagalog
Informant: If, ah– let’s say you’re sweeping at night, and you have your, y’know.. So if you sweep at night, don’t sweep the dirt, the– y’know, the dirt out on the door. It’s, ah, bad, bad luck.
Collector: If you sweep it out the door?
Informant: Out the door. So it has to be–you can sweep, but y’know– the door is closed, and you just sweep and get all the, y’know,
Collector: Get all the dust out?
Informant: But not to sweep–yeah.
Collector: So you’re supposed to sweep it into a pan and then take it outside?
Informant:Yeah, oh no, well, you just sweep–just not the door.
Collector: Do you know why?
Informant: Yeah, y’know, it’s same thing, it’s– no good [laughs].
Context: The informant is the mother of a close friend of mine, and is an immigrant from the Philippines, specifically Cavite City, which is about an hour away from Manila. She has lived in Southern California for roughly 40 years, while still maintaining close connections with her home country.
Analysis: By sweeping the dust out of the door, one might inadvertently sweep the good luck out of the house. When asked, she reported that she had heard about the custom from other housewives in the Philippines. I have heard similar sayings in Jewish culture, though I cannot recall anything specific. As I did with my previous piece, I looked up “sweeping dirt out door” online, to better gauge who participated in this belief. This time, the results were varied; Though there were still many posts that labeled it a strictly Filipino custom (i.e. “You know you’re Filipino When..”), many seemed to consider it a general housewife belief. In this case, it seems as if this particular ritual can be seen in many different cultures.