Thursday, June 2, 2016

Old Taboos For The Pregnant (孕妇的禁忌)

The old Chinese has many taboos for the pregnant which may or may not be observed today.

It was and it is still believed today that a pregnant lady should watch over her movements so as not to disturb her baby during pregnancy or miscarriage may be resulted. Hence wise people of the old have figured out some rules to watch over the well beings of a mother to be. For example:

It is still forbidden to perform house renovations and repair if a pregnant is in the house such as hitting nails, breaking walls or removing furniture. In that matter, it is also best not to move the pregnant mother’s bed for the time being until the baby is safely delivered.

If these taboos are broken then the mother may experience miscarriage, the baby maybe crippled or deformed. Perhaps it is due to the reason that no one wishes to gamble on his/her baby that one would rather be safe than sorry… some of these taboos are still being observed from generation to generation.

Amongst all those taboos for the pregnant, one taboo is of my particular interest. This taboo is called the worship of the ‘grandpa and grandma of the bed’ (床公床母).

Legend has it that the ‘grandpa of the bed’ is fond of tea while ‘grandma of the bed’ is fond of alcohol… So during the last day of Lunar Calendar, household with pregnant lady would prepare some alcohol, tea, foods, sweets, joss papers as offerings for the grandma and grandpa of the bed so that they would watch over the pregnant mother and her baby during the pregnancy period.

Old folks believed by worshipping the ‘grandpa and grandma of the bed’, the baby’s ‘spirit of the fetus’ (胎神) shall be protected by the ‘grandparents’.

People also believe that this spirit of the fetus moves about in the house hence explaining the forbiddance of doing house repair during pregnancy. For example, during the 1st Lunar Month, the spirit is on the bed, during the 2nd Lunar Month, this spirit moves to the bedroom window, while on the 3rd Lunar Month, the spirit is in the living room and so on…

Other taboos for the pregnant would be but not limited to:

A pregnant lady should not sleep under open sky in the wilderness. This is because people believe that there are many wandering spirits in the open that might harm the mother and the baby. This is especially true if the outside is foggy.

The pregnant is also forbidden to plug melons and fruits because they represent fetus of the mother. The mother may experience miscarriage if this taboo is not observed.

A conceived lady is forbidden to go to a funeral service and cemetery because the aura of the places is not auspicious and bad aura may harm the baby.

Outsiders are forbidden to visit a household with a pregnant lady. This is meant to prevent misunderstanding… for if there are problems with the baby later, the visitors may be blamed to cause harm directly or indirectly to the baby…

Of course, most of the taboos mentioned above are not followed now days… personally speaking, I would not recommend anyone do any house renovation work in front of a pregnant mother.

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