Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Old Wives Tales ...

When I was a little girl, my mom (and grandmother) used to tell me things that I could, couldn't, should and shouldn't do. I don't really know how many of them are true or even if it actually makes sense at all but when you're a wee little kid, everything sounds scary to you, especially when told by wise old adults ... hehehe ...

I'm sure many of us have gone through similar 'tales from the crypt' before. I guess it was told to keep us from getting up to mischief. And boy did my parents have loads of spooky stories to keep me cringing in fear! Well, I guess most of these stories have rubbed off on me cos now I give the same 'tales from the crypt' stuff to my kids when they misbehave (not that it actually works, mind you). Kids nowadays are just not afraid of anything!

How many of you have been told weird stuff by your parents? Me, I've got loads of it. Here's a list I made over time about some of the stuff I was told when I was young. How many of you share the same taboos as mine?
  • Don't sit on pillows or you'll get boils!
  • Don't put plastic bags over your head or you'll see ghosts.
  • Don't whistle at night or the devil will turn up.
  • Don't swallow fruit seeds or the tree will grow from within you!
  • Don't throw away leftover rice or you will not have enough food to eat.
  • Don't cut your fingernails at night cos the virgin Mary will shed tears.
  • Don't step over ropes when you're pregnant or your baby will get entangled and you'll have difficulty when giving birth.
  • Don't walk under a ladder or you'll get bad luck.
  • Don't point at rainbows or your fingers will rot.
  • If the sun is shining & it's also raining and you're walking in the rain, you must put a leave on top of your head to ward off evil spirits.
  • Don't shut your ears when you hear thunder or you'll break to pieces!
It's not a long list mind you but it's all that I could remember. You know, I still actually not do most of those things in the list till today! (I guessed I've been brainwashed since young). You might say that I'm weird but hey, you can't be too careful, right:)


  1. Hi Nessa,

    An excellent list!
    Some of these I had heard before, some are quite new to me!

    Off the top of my head I cant think of anything my parents told me except that they would throw out the TV if I watched too much.
    It worked! I still don't watch so much today.

    The not whistling or cutting your nails at night are common beliefs in Japan, but people I ask often say it is bad, but they don't know why.

  2. I remember my aunt telling me not to cut fingernails at night or a family member will die!

    Also have you heard about those twin bananas? My grandmother used to tell me not to eat those or I'll have twin babies!

    The best one I've got so far was never to eat a chicken's butt or I'll end up being "gete". (gatalan) LOL!!!

  3. Interesting list! I don't remember any when I was growing up but I've heard a few from others such as:

    * Don't walk in front of a black cat or you'll have bad luck.
    * Don't turn around if someone calls your name in the middle of the night.

    There's also a list of superstitious dos and don'ts during Chinese New Year.

  4. nice one!

    yeah my mum used to tell me dont step on rice (accidentally spill on the floor) or i'll get ketuat and many more..and what i remember most is my mum will lastik my mouth if i whistle at nite, and she told me ghost will come hihi..

    oh cindy , ya i heard ppl said if makan chicken's butt nanti gete!hihihi

  5. Hi Nessa, interesting list. Some are very familiar to me! But this one from Lis "Don't turn around if someone calls your name in the middle of the night" ...

    this one is giving me the shivers! ;)

  6. Good post sis. Yeah, And I am a believer of this one - Don't swallow fruit seeds or the tree will grow from within you! Not that it ever grow from within but I tell this to my daughter too.
    This applies to chewing gum too! LOL

  7. Lijun - Haha... smart parents you have. I think I could use that with my kids!!

    Cindy - Yup, twin bananas were forbidden but the adults ate them gleefully! Lucky I didn't like chicken 'butt', susah tu kalau 'gete'. LOL

    Lis - I'm scared of black cats. I've heard cats could resurrect the dead if they jump over it!!

    Shana - I've heard of that too:) It is also said that if girls love to sing in the kitchen, they'll end up marrying old men.

    Mariuca - I'd run like hell if that ever happens to me... touchwood! Hmmm, I wonder why people say 'touchwood'??

    Ann - Ya, it's a sound advice even though it sounds stupid... hehe. I guess it's to prevent the person from choking:)

  8. Nessa, interesting post. I got scare over this 'Don't point at rainbows or your fingers will rot' It is so rare to see a rainbow over here & i tot I just pointed one sometimes back. Luckily my fingers are still intact.... heng ah !! LOL

  9. Wow, so many old wifes tales that it makes me think parents just made this up to scare their kids! My mom and grandma sure had loads of scary stories too and it always scared the hell out of me ... LOL!

    The one that I still remember vividly till today is 'don't turn around when someone calls your name at night ...' I still don't ever turn around when someone calls at night whether it's my name or not ... hehehe

  10. Janice - All these are just superstitions, some are quite scary ya. I was also told that pointing at cemeteries is a no no.

    MD - Kids can be a handful, I guess that's why they invented these tales:)

  11. Heard many of these before but my mum used to say, 'don't hang washing on line on Sunday', it's bad luck and never burn bread on an open fire as it feeds the devil!

  12. Lizzie, those I've never heard before but they sure are interesting. I used to burn bread on open fire when my toaster was spoiled, I've probably fed hundreds of devils then! :)


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