Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fables and Superstition of The Dutch East Indies

These are some of the fables/superstitions I received from folks who grew up in The Dutch East Indies.

Clipping your nails at night:
I was told that you will never see your Parents die or when they are dead when you clip your nails at night and I never did until once when I came to the States and I never saw my Parents when they died. First think I thought about. In other areas of Indonesia there might be similar ones with different explanations, like yours and mine with the clipping of nails at night. I don't do it at night anymore except that one time.

Young girls:
Another story from the cook: a girl does not eat the end of the banana (how do you call it really when have a whole bunch, so each end); a girl does not eat the rice at the bottom of the pan; same problem (I used to love it); also don't eat from a plate which is cracked and all that only for girls!!!!! And they might be right; I did all those and still not married. Whether one believes this or not, there are so many things from Indonesia which for some reason or another occur and is attributed to the local beliefs.

Birthday Celebration:
One other thing is that you don't celebrate your birthday before the day itself or later. I have a cousin here who kept taking me out before my birthday to celebrate it with that or her sister-in-law and I fought it with everything I had. She said it was nonsense and keeps doing it.

Fireflies & Nails:
When you sit in the garden on a nice warm tropical evening you might spot some fireflies dancing aroud this way that way. Theiy are the nails of some rich chinese man who became rich by paying his servants too little and treating them bad. You should also know that rich chinese men let their fingernails grow and grow and grow. The richer he is (doesn't need to use his hands for labour, not even writing) the more nails he can afford to let grow. And show that to his social world. But when he dies his fingernails are sent out to do something useful. And of course he doesn't know the concept "doing something useful". So his nails just wander around aimlessly.


Anonymous said...

think I like your weblog Bianca.
May-be you can join in to our opblotekakkies@groups.msn site

well do contact us we are also on kabar angin msn group.

Marguerite & Ineke

Anonymous said...

I did something wrong I guess:

the sites are

Indahmoderator & Marguerite

Anonymous said...

Ha, I bet boys invented the one about the rice- that's the best part! I do remember hearing that one too, but we sisters went right ahead and did it. With a little salt...lekker!

A couple other ones that come right to mind:

When you arrange your bedroom furniture, never point the foot of your bed toward the street side, or you will die in that house (and exit through the door feet first)

If a crow flies over the house 3 times, someone you know is going to die.

Never grow tjabes in the house, it brings bad luck.

Adoeh, what gloomy things! I will try to think of some happy ones. Very nice website!

Bernice Harapat

just_me said...

I am a student from Indonesia. I found your blog when i was searching for the DEI immigrants. I need to know whether those who born and grew up in DEI ever wanted return to Indonesia after the immigration, whether Indonesia is always their homeland. How about your parents? How did they felt? I will be very glad if you could answer my question. And I'm surprised that we share the same myth about nail etc.
Thank you for sharing

Ratri from Indonesia, studying in Germany