April 8, 2014

Nang Chong Stories : Rearing of Chickens for Confinement

Whenever I hear of friends having relatives who have just given birth, I would think of how these new mothers would carry out their Chinese style of confinement for a month. Would they really "sit the month out"? Eating only in their room? Never to step out of the house? only to eat food which are permissable? For one whole month?
 But the most interesting thought I would have would be : did the mother in law or her own mother contract someone to raise at least 30 chickens for the confinement month?

This rearing of chickens for confinement ties in with an old wives' tale. If the brood has more  cockerels then a baby girl would be predicted. When the chicken rear clucks with delight because she has already counted more female chickens amongst the whole lot, a baby boy was predicted.

Grand Uncle Lau Kah Tuong's wife gave birth to 13 girls!! That was really a record for the Nang Chong village.

And for every birth, people would count how many hens were in the brood. And truth be told!! Her chickens would always be more cockerels than hens!!

Grand Uncle Kah Tuong lived between our grandparents' house and Chung Cheng School The school children from our area would jump over logs (which in those days were the "roads" until they reached the small path. This small path would come to a junction to join the main road to Chung Cheng School. This was the junction where Grand Uncle Kah Tuong's house was. And even school going children would look at the chickens which were reared in the yard for the new baby.

In this way, children learned about folk lore in Nang Chong.

This kind of prediction for a baby girl or a baby boy was really very accurate where Grand Uncle Kah Tuong's wife was concerned..

I have been wondering if this is still being used to predict the gender of a baby 40 years on....


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