Thunder is the growling of a large cat

Large cat eye 99762

I love that metaphor.

This is one of the superstitions that W. H. Millington and Berton Maxfield reported from informants in the Visayas, Philippines, back in 1906. Here are some other fun ones:

If you bite your lip, someone is talking about you (negatively).
This one, I knew. My dad says it all the time — his mother is Visayan.

Lunar eclipses are caused by a large snake or dragon-like creature called a bakunáwa, which holds the moon in its mouth.
Actually, the original paper doesn’t define what a bakunáwa actually is. I found the definition in this Visayan-English dictionary. No word on who eats the sun during solar eclipses.

To play with a cat will cause a storm.
I guess this follows from thunder being a cat’s growling.

Falling stars are the souls of drunkards. At night they return to earth, singing: “Do not drink! Do not drink !” Each day they try to climb back into heaven, but each night fall back again.
I really, really like this image. I don’t even know why.

The paper is Philippine (Visayan) Superstitions by W. H. Millington and Berton L. Maxfield, The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 19, No. 74 (Jul. – Sep., 1906), available free to the public from JSTOR.

The paper also collects some folklore about tamawos, duendes, and aswangs.
A trifle paternalistic, as is much of the folklore literature from that period, but a fun read all the same.

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