Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old Wive's Tales

One of the weird things that I discovered when I came here was that 'old wives' tales' prevail. Libyans believe all kinds of weird stuff! Especially when it comes to being pregnant and having kids.

  • If you're pregnant and you are craving something and you don't get what you are craving for then there's a pretty good chance that your baby is going to have a birthmark! 
  • If you are over due then you should expect that someone will come and scare you with a fish to make you go into labour. They really believe this - I've had a sister-in-law jump out at me with a fish in her hand! (it didn't work, by the way)
  • When you go into labour you should drink a glass of olive oil to help you squirt that baby right out! (I imagine the doctor or midwife won't be too thrilled about your diarrhea though.)
The list goes on and on.... 

One of the funniest things that happened was when one of my sister-in-laws visited me while she was pregnant and the kids brought out their toys. One of the toys was a rubber troll doll. My sister-in-law took one look and it and jumped up and ran out the door. She stayed downstairs at my other sister-in-law's house until her husband came to pick her up because she was certain that looking at that troll doll was going to cause her to have a baby that looked the same.

The weird thing was that one of my neighbours (who had seen the troll doll while she was pregnant) has a kid that looks like it! I've called that kid troll doll ever since she was born. She's about 10 now and still looks like a troll doll.  She doesn't have blue hair or eyes though - hers are brown but her hair is the same texture. And she has the exact same features. Now that's really weird!

For a while I used to keep the troll doll in the entryway of my apartment, up on the top of the china cabinet. It was like a charm to ward off evil (or sister-in-laws!) lololol

Today I saw this fantastic two headed doll while I was surfing the net. I want this doll! This would be perfect to stick next to the troll doll! Where can I get one of these???


  1. Hi Khadija
    I can't think of a better idea.
    Here's where you can get the World's Most Hideous Doll.

  2. Oh I want it!!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!!

  3. Hello, I am from the UAE and we have the same old wives tales here, except that when you are overdue or you are going into labor the family wants you to drink a glass of castor oil and if you want your children to look beautiful you should pictures of beautiful people around you, no ugly dolls or ugly people around you. How funny that superstitions can be the same in different parts of the world.

  4. That two headed doll is too much!!! Very creepy!!!

  5. Oh, that would send even me running! How ugly!

  6. Salam, This is so funny, I live in Egypt and they have a lot of superstitions too , I blogged about it once as well. The olive oil one is so stupid...yea because what you drink will find its way to your reproductive organs??

  7. lol my cousin said that if a woman drinks water straight after having a baby she will be thirsty for the rest of her life!

  8. She also said that because my Mum was craving baqlawa and my Dad didn't bring her any back from Libya that my brother's birthmark is a result of not having any!

  9. Castor oil is a world-wide wives tale I think.

  10. They told me, "If you sleep on a black pillow, you will have nightmares." So I said to them, "Once the light is turned out, all of our pillows are black."

    How about: If the child ends up looking more like you, it's because you spent a ton of time looking in the mirror! My son had a lot of my features, but I barely ever looked in the mirror except to adjust my hijab (time was very tight that year / in and out of that bathroom asap haha).

    I heard the birthmark one, too. But I severely craved a ton of stuff I didn't get on time or at all, to the point of sickness, but 0-1 birth mark per kid.

    The only thing I know of that the Prophet warned against looking at during pregnancy is: A snake with two stripes causes miscarriage if a pregnant woman looks at it, so kill it if you see it.

    Americans have really weird superstitions, too, like walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, the numbers 13 and 6, etc. - Many buildings in Japan don't have a floor marked #4 because they believe it's bad luck! I'm thinking, a 4th floor is a 4th floor whether or not the number is on display... ;-)

  11. It is very funny how we have so many things in common. I’m from Jordan, and I remember when I was little so many of those old wives tales stories. Not my generation through, it was more like my grandmother generation type of thing, but we used them as a joke. A very funny one you mentioned about eh glass of oil, hilarious :D, how could anyone drink a cup of oil? Is it even possible?


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