Nick Joaquin is the author for the May Day Eve

Nick Joaquin is the author for the May Day Eve, a story about love in a patriarchal society with the theme of magic because of the numerous occasions inspired superstitious beliefs in the story. The husband, Don Badoy Montiya, and the wife, Doña Agueda who were so immersed in a peculiar superstition that they believed to be as fate, then sooner or later became their downfall, henceforth their regret.

Thought the superstition indicated in the story was not entirely a Filipino-based superstition, it was rather believed to be adapted from the ancient Rome belief. There were undeniably lots of words and phrases found in the story such as Prophecy, Saint, and the significance of the number Seven. Based on ancient Roman belief, the number seven seems to indicate that seven years is known for the time period for a soul to renew itself, to be reborn. Nevertheless the Romans were also able to come up with a remedy for those unfortunate people who broke mirrors and the only way to do so is that if they bury the broken mirror pieces very deeply. Surprisingly enough that the same thought had been portrayed in the last part of the story wherein Don Badoy Montiya came to a realization that he had a pitiful and regretful life with his wife, Doña Agueda, and vice versa. Later on that it would be the causation for them to be the devil or witch that night.

Another superstition mentioned by Doña Agueda and her grandson was the existence of devils and witchcraft. This belief originated in the Puritans of Europe and the role of religion in their life which is why they believed that the devils are to be blamed for for the hardships they had to endure and that the influence of witchcraft in the Puritan’s society had changed as centuries passes by, which is the culmination of hysteria that occurred during the Reformation in Europe.

Aside from the mentioned superstitions discussed, marriage and gender inequality were portrayed as well in the story. Don Badoy was described in the story as the arrogant and machismo young man while Doña Agueda was the bold, liberated, and a non-conformist young woman that was ahead of her time. Gender inequality can be seen in the story wherein Don Badoy confronts Doña Agueda from her back on May Day Eve. Doña Agueda struggles to resist Don Badoy’s aggressiveness and malicious act though after that night they had been married. Unbounded by love and no sense of sacredness was the consequence/result of their life in marriage due to which their personalities was just not really meant for each other, therefore mismatched.

Another criticism pointed out in the story was the dominance of the Spanish colonial era as well as their traditions and culture. Hence the waltz and polka dances played on May Day Eve, carriages used by the guests upon arrival to the even and its people in the story were mostly described to be from the Western country. As stated in Philippine history, it was a Post Spanish colonial era that time but apparently Nick Joaquin was able to publish this short story following his article, Quijano de Manila on Postwar and Contemporary Period dating back in 1947. Therefore May Day Eve is truly fictional and not based on the real life situation of Filipinos under Spanish colonization but rather just another entertainment story inspired during that era.

Hence we have cometh to a conclusion that those are the superstitions that didn’t originate from Filipino superstitious beliefs yet were portrayed in the story of the Filipino artist, Nick Joaquin.