Superstition has it that taking a bath (or even doing laundry) after 3pm — the time when Christ gave his last breath on the cross — is not advisable because something bad will happen to the person. It’s a belief that dates back to the Spanish colonization period, when friars found the hygiene to be strange. The friars then told Filipinos not to bathe daily or they would get ill.
If the elders in your family forbid you to carry out these activities on Good Friday, don’t be surprised. It’s been going on for ages. They were probably told by their grandparents to do the same. Despite the smoldering heat of the summer and the stink that is brings due to sweating throughout the day, many Filipinos still adhere to the practice. After all, “Wala namang mawawala kung susunod tayo.”
The superstitious belief has no religious bearing, however, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). In fact, Christ’s death should be celebrated with a bath. According to Chapter 6 of the book of Matthew, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting will not be obvious to men, but only to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Poor personal hygiene also does the opposite of what the superstition claims. Not washing up can result to bad body odor and disease such as common cold, flu, salmonellosis, hepatitis A, typhoid, streptococcus, and staph infections.
Even the concept of bad luck is problematic, at least in Catholic faith. Not one event happens by chance. It’s all God’s workings.
Go ahead and wash up. You don’t just want it, you need it.
Angela, an online writer for MB Life, has taken a lovely bath on Good Friday. Nothing unfortunate has happened (yet?) to her.
Featured Image by Madel Crudo