Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spice up your life with superstitious beliefs

Spice up your life with superstitious beliefs
Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Mely C Tenorio, 738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday (Phase II 2006 to present)

1. Garlic drives the aswang away.
If aswang (vampire) being referred to are pests and diseases, then there is scientific explanation to offer, because garlic contains a dozen substances that have pesticidal, anti-microbial and antiviral properties such as allicin, allithiamin and aliin, from which the scientific name of the plant was derived – Allium sativum. Garlic is placed on doorways, in the kitchen and some corners of the house where vermin usually hide, which is 

Garlic grown in the Ilocos region is more pungent and aromatic than imported garlic

also practiced in other countries. Garlic odor is an effective repellant against insects and rodents – and to many people, also to evil spirits, such as the manananggal (half-bodied vampire).     

2. Fruit trees watered with sugar solution bear sweet fruits.
Plants do not directly take in sugar as animals do.  Besides, sugar, like any organic compound, will break down into simple substances and elements through fermentation and decomposition, becoming ultimately inorganic substances. Some of these compounds and elements, especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) are useful for plants to grow and develop. The decomposition process may also alter the pH of the soil that may be more favorable.  

3. Nakakapagpagaling ang laway sa nausog. (A little saliva relieves someone who was chanced upon by the unseen.)  
Old folks tell us that a person who is nausog must have trespassed or offended the spirits. He perspires, becomes cold, pale and weak, and chances are he suffers of stomach cramp or headache. In the village, people know who have the power to heal the nausog. He may be a person close to the soul of a departed in the place, or one who knows where the di-katataoan (spirit, literally non-person) is residing.  He applies saliva on the painful part of the body, imploring help and asking forgiveness. Sometimes, the clothes of the dead are used to wipe the patient. Sometimes, fresh leaves of orange, lemon. eucalyptus are macerated and used as aroma therapy.  Or it could be incense or burned leaves of kamias and other plants. At the end, the patient survives amidst all the attention and remedies.

4. Hanging bottles on the trellis of gourd plants induces fruiting.
Old folks believe in decoy to induce fruiting.  This is why they hang bottles on the trellis, and the more, the better the harvest. I have seen a squash trellis appearing like pabitin in fiestas. There is no scientific explanation to this of course, except that the bottles may serve somehow as deterrent against pranks and thieves. 

It could be for the reason that the colors, the pendulum movement, and occasional chimes of hanging bottles repel fruit flies, a major pest of fruits of cucurbits and other plants.  I would venture to add to the explanation that water trapped in the hanging bottles is a breeding place of mosquitoes and other insects that attract predators such as preying mantis, spiders, and house lizards. In effect these predators protect the crops from pests, and therefore, more of their fruits develop.

5. Harelip or cleft lip is the result of an accident when the baby was still in the womb.
When a mother accidentally falls, or is bumped, the baby she is carrying gets injured. The baby in the womb, by instinct sucks its thumb, so that we are made to believe that the injury is in the upper lips.

Actually, harelip - named after the shape of the lips of the hare or rabbit – is a result of incomplete fusion of the embryo’s facial parts early in prenatal development. It is a congenital abnormality. Slight cleft lip can be easily repaired by surgery. Cosmetic surgery to minimize the scar may be desirable when the child is a few years older.  

6. If a Fortune plant received as a gift bears flower, it is a sign of good luck; if it dies it is an omen of bad luck.
Fortune plant (Dracaena) is propagated by cutting.  The cutting is first allowed to produce new shoots before it is placed in a vase or dish. Water is regularly replaced, and once in a while the plant is taken out under the sun to give it vigor. Dracaena directly planted in pots and in the ground grows into a small tree and may bear a bouquet of flowers especially during the cold months, if properly tended. One must have a green thumb, so to speak, which often accompanies happy disposition and diligence.

7. Inadvertently wearing reverse clothes (baliktad) leads one to marry a widow or old maid.  
It’s a case of poor eyesight, or mali-mali (habitual forgetfulness). I know of guys who are not too concerned with their grooming. They are occupied with many things. Someone would even suspect, “Siguro mahilig yong mama na yan.’” (Maybe the guy  is naughty.) Anyone who lacks proper grooming may not have much chance building admiration in one whom he may wish to marry.  Whatever, somehow, sometime, someone comes along and finds the guy worth building a future together. It is likely one who can influence him to be concerned with the finer things in life.
8. It’s customary to first spill a little of your wine in deference to the  spirits.
And say a little prayer, too, to appease the souls and spirits. It is a sign of peace and respect not only to the memory of the departed souls and spirits of the place, but also a gesture to the host and company. But please do it discreetly and with finesse.
9. It’s lucky to find a four-leaf clover.
There are freaks in nature all around us.  Some are common, others occur only in a million chances. It is the latter that people who find them feel they are favored by some kind of luck.

But we also fancy on common ones like an elephant shaped papaya fruit, twin bunches of banana, ginseng root forked like beautiful legs, squash fruit with a face, and the like. These are deviations that appear suddenly and unexpectedly. Nature after all is not perfect.  It also commits errors, and these errors may occur only temporarily in the organism concerned, or it is passed on to its offspring – which is the key to speciation, a progressive deviation of traits that ultimately leads to the making of a new species.    

Try your luck again if you can’t find a real clover leaf representing the logo of the Boy Scout. Steal a leaf of makahiya, one that does not droop, and your wish – any wish – will be granted. 
10. Mothers place the extracted tooth of their children under the pillow or mat so that the good tooth fairy will come to replace it.
Actually this is an act of making a wish that psychologically reduces pain. It gives us a happy aura, pep and a positive feeling that promotes good health. We wish for many things, but we must always strive to get them. The tooth is a souvenir that keeps memories alive, that brings out the happy childhood in us in later years.  Listen to the song My Favorite Things (Sound of Music) and you won’t feel so bad.~ 

No comments: