Gaddang anitu rites are rendered to cure the sick and ensure their longevity and to avoid misfortune or illness due to breach or a taboo. Presided by the medium and usually involving the sacrifice of a pig, these rituals could also serve to indicate status and/or the occasions for kindred socialization.
To relieve the person of the malaise, an older relative plucks a twig from a tree, for instance, malunggay and gently brushes it on the victim's head and body while muttering to the unseen spirit to let go. If the victim's condition persists, the relatives offer atang, a ritual food to appease the supernaturals of the wilderness. Since the Ilocano traditional universe links the natural and the supernatural realms, rites of appeasement and thanksgiving are done periodically of the spirits dwelling in the loam, river and woodland. This traditional world view, which has persisted in a modified and casual manner, may incorporate traces of ecclesiastical rites. For instance, upon opening a bottle of liquor on the ground, like a priest sprinkling holy water. The intent is to offer the kadkadua (unseen partners) their share of the repast and merriment.
Many rituals are connected with the agricultural cycle: the daily life on the swidden, which includes clearing, planting and harvesting. Nature provides signs and portents that signal the start of specific activities. These are rituals related to life in the swidden, to rice and to community as a whole.
Three signs indicate the clearing work on the swidden can begin-the red bakakaw herb comes out, the tablan (coral tree) is in bloom and the leaves of the basinalan tree fall to the ground. This is around February to March. Then, the lumba tree begins to bear fruit, and it is a sign that the dry days have begun, time for burning the swidden. A good harvest is portended by the rising of a little whirlwind from the burning field. This, it is said, is the spirit Alpugpug. This wind fans the fire that moves across the burning field which never goes out of control, "because swidden culture has its own ecological wisdom." Before burning, the Isneg clear the swidden very carefully, taking care no to harm certain plants, such as the amital vine, which must not be killed, lest a death befall the offender's family. The clearing burned, a few seeds are cast into the wind and a prayer is offered to the spirits. The farmer and his family gather charred woods which has not been completely burned. This will be used for fuel, to be used during the harvest. Three days before rice is planted, the agpaabay ceremony is observed. A man and a woman scatter rice grains across the field to warn the rats not to eat them. The woman returns in the afternoon to make an offering to the spirits of the field. She bores a hole into the ground and drops a few seeds into it. Then she covers the hole with taxalitaw vine leaves and the sapitan herb. This is to ensure that the crops will be healthy. For the whole night and all throughout the next day, she cannot hand out anything to anyone, and no one is allowed to enter her house. On the third day, other women take up the chore of planting. They carry double sticks with which they bore holes in the ground. Coconut shells full of seed are tied to their waists. It is taboo for children to make noises, because they would likely disturb the spirits: the paxananay, who watches over the planting and the bibiritan which kills people when roused to anger. In September, the rice is ready for harvesting. It is then cooked with the fire of the stored charred wood from the burned clearing: thus, the cooking of the rice completes the ritual cycle of the swidden.
There are several rituals performed in connection with the harvest of rice. These actually begin with the killing of a pig as an object of sacrifice, accompanied by communications with the spirits, performed in the form of prayers by the dororakit or the shaman maganito. Rice pudding if offered to Pilay, the spirit of the rice, who resides on the paga, a shelf above the Isneg hearth. This is the pisi, the ritual offering of food to the spirits. The old woman who performs this utters the following prayer: "Ne uwamo ilay ta ubatbattugammo ya an-ana-a, umaammo ka mabtugda peyan" (Here, this is yours, Pilay, so that you feed my children fully, and make sure thet they are always satisfied.)
Another ritual is performed right in the fields where the harvest is going on.
The amulets inapugan, takkag(a kind of fern), and herbs are tied to a stalk of palay, which later will be placed in the granary before the other palay.
Again, these are reserved for Pilay. In case a new granary is built, and
the contents of the old granary were transferred, the spirit's special share
is also transferred to the new place. It is never consumed. An illness in the
family during the time of harvest occasions a ritual called pupug.
The shaman catches a chicken and kills it inside the house of the affected
family. The usual prayers to the guardian spirits of the fields are recited,
after which the household members partake of the meat of the sacrificial