Superstitious Thailand: Thai Traditions and Folklore About Your Pregnancy

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Thai culture is steeped in mythology and folklore, so its no surprise that over the course of history this country has churned out quite a few superstitions, tall tales and shibboleths surrounding one of life’s most pivotal stages: pregnancy. From “how to pacify greedy ghosts” to “recipes for a pregnancy panacea,” here’s the Thai birthing superstition guide to a healthy, happy baby.

As always, the best place to start is at the beginning. The baby flies into the mother’s uterus during insemination as a khwan, or “soul.” From that point on, the mother has a whole lot of worrying to do. First and foremost, we have Krasue, one of the most famous and terrifying of Thai ghosts. A beautiful woman with internal organs as a body, Krasue has a particular fascination with pregnant women. She is known for flying up to the houses of pregnant women in the hopes of stealing the baby away. But don’t worry moms, Thai legend has it that if you put thorny vines in your window it will repel her.

onion

In Thailand, pregnancy is considered a “hot” condition, and it is important to secure that warm state and keep the baby nice and toasty with the following:

  • Warmed coconut milk
  • Ginger tea
  • Onions
  • Garlic

One vegetable in particular is thought to be very helpful for the birthing process. Called pak plang, this oily, vine-like vegetable is thought to make the baby more slick in the womb, making for a quick and easy delivery. Head to the grocery store, moms, because there’s nothing like taking an epidural in vegetable form.
Though some foods are considered very helpful for expecting moms, the Thais have some very strong opinions on what not to eat. The no-no foods are referred to as Khong Salaeng, or “allergic foods.” The Khong Salaeng foods of note are:

  • Spicy foods, which lead to the baby being born hairless
  • Coffee and tea, which take away a baby’s intelligence
  • A whole banana—it can lead to a birth obstruction, so only eat half

The Thai people are very wary of catching bad luck. During pregnancy, bad luck is the absolute last thing anyone would want. According to the Thai people, the following situations are to be avoided at all costs:

  • Attending funerals
  • Sitting in a stairwell—this causes a birth obstruction (so don’t even think about sitting in one and eating a whole banana)

Thankfully, bad luck can be countered with some old-fashioned good luck rituals. These include:

  • Having a Magic Shower, wherein nam mon (special words) are said by a magic healer to bless the shower. This is done in an open air space during the 8th and 9th months of pregnancy and it is believed to be one of the best rituals to ensure the baby is born under good conditions
  • If giving birth in one’s own home, the birthing room must be decorated with small flags inscribed with sacred numbers from one to nine. This sacred ritual is said to ward off evil spirits
  • To ensure a safe delivery, all windows and doors must be open and the mother must face east
  • In the case of birthing complications, press holy water to the abdomen

So there you have it, some of the most revered and feared traditions and superstitions that date far back in Thailand’s history. From downright gory to straight up magical, there are many ways the Thais ward off the bad and welcome in the good. The question is, do you believe in superstitions?

Photo Credit: SoraZG via Compfight cc

ExpectingExpats.com

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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