Superstition…

Among the Chinese, there are many taboos surrounding expectant mums though many today would simply brush them off as old wives’ tales and would pay no attention whatsoever to them.

One of these would be the insisting that whenever a craving arises, the one concerned must go all out to eat whatever she may be dying to have. Failure to do so would result in the baby, after its birth, salivating profusely. I guess we are all familiar with babies that are so cute and clean and smell so nice whereas there are other smelly ones, wet all over their faces and the front part of their clothes, those that nobody would want to kiss. In such an event, the old folks would put the blame on the mums for not eating what they were craving for while expecting.

Well, a friend went back to her hubby’s hometown recently and needless to say, they ate a whole lot of things while they were home but when they had gone back to their working places, she saw my photograph of some lay piang

LP1

…and realized that she had not eaten any…

LP2

…and she made a comment to that effect either here in my blog or on Facebook.

Well, just in case, I decided to send her a couple of pieces…

LP3

…so when the time comes, the baby will not be salivating all over. LOL!!!

Another one was home too and she too ate a whole lot of things during her vacation back here…and when she saw my photograph of the traditional Foochow Mooncake Festival biscuits…

PGTCP

…she exclaimed that she did not get to eat them when she was home. I quickly sent her two packets for her to enjoy but, no, I don’t think she’s expecting but the ethnic people here such as the Melanaus have this belief that if you want to eat something, you have to eat it or at least touch it when offered or some mishap would befall upon you.

Then, I have another friend who shared on Facebook about how her baby cried and cried non-stop upon reaching home after a very long trip. Well, the old folks would remind parents that when they take their babies out, when they want to go back, they will have to “call out” to the baby and tell him or her that they are going home…and keep doing that all the way home. Otherwise, once they reach the house, the baby would be quite a problem to handle. Well, she said that she prayed and the baby calmed down right after – good for her!

Now, anybody has any interesting stories to share about these superstitions?

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33 thoughts on “Superstition…

  1. Yeah, all the old wives tales. But then, most people rather want to play ‘safe’ and keep the rules than sorry. Aiya….next time, you send me the kompia La. ….

    You’re pregnant? Got craving…. Just let me know and I’ll send you some quickly. Hehehehehe!!!!!

  2. Hahaha…. i know some friends who actually touched the food if they don’t want to take the offer. Those biscuits must be good. Would like to try them in future :)

    I do too! My grandma was Melanau and we had to touch the food or drink everytime we did not want to eat or drink and we still do so- – eat/drink a bit or touch the outside of the bowl or glass or whatever, more out of habit. The biscuits may not be available all year round – usually a couple of months before the Mooncake Festival and no more once all are sold out after the festival.

  3. superstitions…hmmm…guess my mum must have abstained from many food when she was expecting me…making me a tamchiak now :P

    So were you a smelly salivating plus-plus baby then? Muahahahahaha!!!!

  4. First time I hear of such superstition.

    There are lots more! Some I never heard of before – like not too long ago, the confinement lady would not let my cousin’s wife use the ipad or her smartphone…and no TV! I wonder why…

    • Coz it will affect the mother’s eyesight. apparently extremely weak during that one month’s confinement time

      Oh? So that’s the reason. Does make a lot of sense, I would say – all those things aren’t so good for the eyes even for people not in confinement. Thanks for enlightening. Your first time here, I see. Welcome, thanks for commenting and do drop by again.

    • That was for the new mothers not to ‘over strain’ their eyes. I did not watch TV for all 3 confinements also. But surfing internet once in while is OK though (my excuse, in order to stay sane). So no soap opera for me although I was extremely bored. My mum was here watching over me like a hawk. If my mum was not here, I don’t think I would be that disciplined. If new mothers keep on watching TV, especially those with many episodes, they might not get much needed rest for their body to recover.

      I would agree with that last bit. Hahhhh!!!! Thank goodness for your mum – she knows best! I had a cousin who lived next door – she was in confinement but she would get into her car and drive around the neighbourhood – couldn’t stand being cooped up in the house for so long. LOL!!! :D

  5. Hey Arthur, I am also having the “urge” for Lay Piang now… so how… ??? :p

    I’m pretty sure you’re not expecting so not urgent. Can wait till you come to Sibu and I’ll buy for you to eat – as much as you want. :D

  6. i guess many of us have not tried (or even seen in real) that lay piang and traditional Foochow Mooncake Festival biscuits too.. so, i wonder if our beloved Food Mayor of Sibu will be kind enough to send some to whoever commented here that they have not tried?? hehehehehe~~ :p

    The biscuits, you’ll have to wait till this time next year…and as for the lay piang, wait till my daughter gets engaged and I’ll send you the biggest piece there is…and following the Foochow tradition, you will have to reciprocate by giving my daughter a chain that’s equivalent to the lay piang in its weight in gold! Hehehehehehe!!!!!

  7. Owh, those superstitions you mentioned I have heard of. Like babies crying non stop at night,people say pluck 7 types of flowers in a pail with a pair of scissors & a mirror and put under the sun from morning till noon and then bathe the baby with the water. Sometimes it does work and we have to believe. Lay piang fillings looks good.

    I’ve heard something like that but not in detail. Wouldn’t know how to go about it. Very interesting indeed. Ya, from my favourite place, the lay piang…not too sweet and very tasty.

  8. No one will bother about me now when I have craving for some food. Lol!

    So far my baby has not be salivating yet, so I guess I satisfied all my craving when I was pregnant. Hehehe.

    That’s good. Ya, you can crave all you want, nobody will care. Hahahahahaha!!!! By the way, still over a week left – can’t eat many things yet and they say, no…no…no…pineapples especially!!!

  9. How interesting it is to find out about different culture’s superstitions and beliefs. Thanks for sharing.

    Yes, there are so many interesting things in all our diverse cultures but in this day and age, I guess most of them have died out already and people are embracing stuff that are not traditionally or culturally their own. :(

  10. When I was pregnant, I did not get to eat many food that I craved to eat. Touch wood la so far no salivating… but seriously touch wood… scared nanti during teething time sure basah one..

    Usually, that is the reason for the excessive salivating and old people simply made up stories one… :D

  11. Superstition…. but sometimes you just have to believe after a few times of coincidence eh? The lay piang looks good, sweet or savory?

    Sweet, slightly savoury. This one’s good as it is not so sweet – some are simply too sweet for my liking. You believe in superstitions? I’m surprised – usually young people are not bothered about such things.

  12. I’ve not heard of the pregnancy craving in the Chinese community but I remember my Malay colleagues telling that they have to satisfy the craving whenever it strikes. That’s why their spouse, family and friends would go all out to obtain the craved food.

    Touching the food is new to me.

    Superstitions abound in every culture, east or west, but to ignore them could be at one’s detriment, eh? That lay piang looks delish. What’s the succulent filling made of, pray tell.

    Honestly, though I’ve been eating lay peang all my life, I do not know…probably a variation of what one finds in heong peah though not exactly the same.

  13. I didn’t know about the superstition behind the cravings! I just thought cravings gave me a good excuse to eat whatever I wanted during pregnancy without feeling guilty. Haha..

    Gee!!! And you still look the same. Amazing!!! ;)

  14. “…so when the time comes, the baby will not be salivating all over. LOL!!!”….seriously?? Okay la…I admit I am drooling at the Lay Piang :-D

    About the last paragraph… didn’t know about that oso… But I’ll bear in mind…no harm doing that. Just that baby might be wondering why is my mummy so ‘long gas’ (whining) :-D

    There’s a lot more…but as long as you don’t have old folks around, you would not need to bother about all of the, Ignorance is bliss! ;)

  15. I am not pregnant and it will never happen alright but i want to eat Lay Piang. Your closed up photo has made me greedy and I won’t be able to sleep unless you promise to send me a box! Thanksssssss

    See my reply to [SK] above. The same applies here… Hehehehehehehe!!!!

  16. I wonder if any expectant mothers mentioned to you that they are craving for kampua noodles hee..hee…

    I heard once of somebody in Australia expecting and craving for kampua and they had to send some over – dunno how true. They’ve kampua there at some places now and I hear at one, they have kompia…whenever there is anybody going over from Sibu. ;)

  17. Haha…love all those superstitious stories. I think I broke all of them cos I didn’t know it when I was pregnant….oooops. Thank God everything still went well. I think it’s a good excuse to really enjoy food and make everyone run around hunting for food for the pregnant lady :D

    …and in the old days, they believed in eating for two. Thank goodness you’re still nice and slim. ;)

  18. cool anecdotes about the superstition. i think my grandmothers would have been strict adherents to some of these beliefs … i wonder whether the expectant mothers should be grateful for these taboos or feel miserable, heh :D

    I guess they would have no choice but to adhere to them – can’t take any chances, can they? Hehehehehe!!!!

  19. hmmmmm…i don’t know why till now i still don’t really like Lay Piang. Not really craving for it. :P

    Did I buy this one for you to try? I never liked it either but I quite like this one, just that I cannot it too often – mustn’t indulge in sweet things too often.

  20. heard about this one leh when I was pregnant.. but I didnt notice I was craving for anything…. because I am always craving whether I m pregnant or not… lol ….. :P ;P :P

    that lay pheah looks yumm!

    Gee! And you’re so slim? How did you manage that? Hmmmm….some people just have good genes, I guess…but not me. :( Ya, this one’s good, can’t say the same about many that are sold all over town.

  21. another one old folks’ tales would be not to kill any animals at all during pregnancy.
    coming from a typical foochow family, i would follow coz my mom is too fussy -___-

    ive cravings for char ju mien, ice red beans, pian sik…sigh

    You’re obviously Foochow from here, your Facebook profile shows you’re in Seremban. I’ve a friend there and an ex-student from Sibu there as well – happily settled with her family.

    Ya, it’s best to follow mum’s advice – they know best. Haven’t heard about slaughtering animals but they say pregnant ladies cannot tie chang or there will be a line across the baby’s legs like they’re being tied. I knew a girl with legs like that and they told me that was what happened, dunno how true that was.

  22. Like that I also want to make comments on wanna eat what sibu food la. Mana tau next day got poslaju delivery leh :p

    You pregnant kah? Yaaaaaaa!!!! New house, new baby!!!! Muahahahahaha!!!!!

  23. Oh, I didn’t know the reason behind satisfying one’s food craving during pregnancy… come to think of it, I don’t remember having much food craving during my pregnancies…and no morning sickness too… Hhhmmnn, bit weird huh?

    Another superstition I know of, do not have any renovations or remodelling done in the home during the pregnancy. In fact, not a single nail could be hammered!
    These superstitions are best adhered to, whether one believes it or not. Better not take any chances, right?

    Oh? I vaguely remember having heard that one – the hammering bit. Lots of taboos for the expectant mums, it seems.

  24. I don’t know about Melanau but it’s somewhat true for Ibans, back in the days.

    They really would take offence if you don’t drink tuak from the communal rice wine cup they pass around. I heard rumblings along the lines of “Chinese city folks, rude etc” but it wasn’t that I didn’t want to drink (wouldn’t pass one up back then) it was more that I’ve already had too much to drink and couldn’t drink more if I wanted to be relatively sober. I just sat down in that “circle” (there were lots in the long house, this was about 10 years ago so maybe they didn’t know I had already partook and in the communal way too.

    It would be all right if you just touched it. That’s what I usually do and say I’m allergic…or I’ve health problems. I guess it depends on the people – some may not give in that easily…and some can be quite temperamental. :(

  25. Yes yes.. i’ve heard of all these superstitious and I rather believe them than to regret.. My mama always tell my AhSo to best not to bring her children out especially at night.. but .. you know la.. young people nowadays.. so .. Mama tried to tell her things like what you mentioned. tell the baby we’re going home and stuffs like that.. ahSo didn’t believe and in the end the baby cried out loud for few nights O.o

    Hahahahaha!!!! Sometimes, we say we do not believe…and yet it happens as the old folks say. Most young people these days don’t care, will brush it all aside as sheer nonsense. I guess it is up to them, can’t force anybody to listen if they do not want to listen.

  26. Pingback: I’m so angry… | ...Still crazy after all these years!

  27. Superstitious or not but seriously I haven’t eaten this biscuit. Am too mature to get pregnant again, so for the time being can only see picture and dream of it until I go Sibu. hahaha

    You’re coming? When? When? Welcome! Welcome! Just let me know. Would be delighted to have friends around – I enjoy company!

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