Don’t Cut Things When You Are Pregnant – Taiwanese Folk Superstition

1. Text

When asked to share a superstition, the informant responded with the following Taiwanese folk superstition:

“There is a superstition where you are not supposed to cut things when you are pregnant. The belief is that you would be risking cutting your own child. Therefore pregnant women would avoid using scissors or knives to cut anything.”

2. Context

The informant learned this superstition from being told by their grandma. The informant is Taiwanese and grew up in Taiwan. The informant does not believe that this superstition has any real basis since it is impossible to harm the baby in the womb by cutting something outside.

3. Analysis

The superstition collected above is a folk belief that is related to homeopathic magic since it is impossible to cut the child in the womb, however cutting something is similar to cutting the baby in the womb. This belief may have been created so that women do not perform dangerous tasks during pregnancy. Since pregnant women are carrying a new developing life in their body, it is best not to get injured during pregnancy as it would affect the health of the mother which would influence the baby. Perhaps this folk belief is also a prayer for a healthy and natural birth for the infant, since the act of cutting is similar to the procedure of C-section, or may symbolize cutting away the child. There are many superstitions in Taiwanese culture, especially surrounding child birth, since it is a difficult and at times dangerous undertaking for the mother. Children are important in traditional Taiwanese culture due to the emphasis on traditional family structures and the idea that children are the future of the family who carry on the parents’ name and legacy. Therefore, child bearing and birth are very important, causing people to rely on any sort of knowledge, even superstitions with no scientific evidence, to ensure the health of the mother and child.