Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Have questions or resources regarding Khmer Culture? This forum is all about the Kingdom of Cambodia's culture. Khmer language, Cambodian weddings, French influence, Cambodian architecture, Cambodian politics, Khmer customs, etc? This is the place. Living in Cambodia can cause you to experience a whole new level of culture shock, so feel free to talk about all things related to the Khmer people, and their traditions. And if you want something in Khmer script translated into English, you will probably find what you need.
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Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by Mr. Yan » Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:18 pm

I was curious if there were any threads that listed all of the traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, or superstitions that you guys have come across while being here. I did search, but may have missed it. Not so much to debate their validity, but just to list as many as possible. Of course there are the obvious ones such as tiger balm with or without a massage is a cure all for most any ailment. Been coming across baby related ones with the family recently. So far I have, "don't shower too late at night or the baby will get too big and be hard to deliver, if the baby smiles too much right after being born and is not spit on by the mother shortly after it can die, the baby will take on the traits, mannerisms, and way of thinking from the person that is holding them when they are first taken outdoors." I know that I've heard many more, I'm always interested in them weather I agree or not.
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by Anchor Moy » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:40 pm

This one on coining :
https://cambodiaexpatsonline.com/khmer-l ... t4698.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And don't drink cold drinks if you have a cold.
(But warm beer is ok I think. :beer3: )
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by prahkeitouj » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:06 pm

I think it is difficult when women are pregnant. I heard too many superstitions about pregnant women. My second sister is pregnant too. She doesn't drink cold water or any cold because she is afraid that her baby will get too big and difficult when give a birth.
- don't take a bath too late at night : I think it's because too late at night is a bit dangerous for mum and baby. For example in the countryside there is no electricity so it would be dark and they can flip by accident while everyone going to bed already.
-don't take baby out side: they believe that baby will be sick because of evil or bad spirit because we believe that we have good spirit looks after our home and us so when we go out side they can't protect us from those bad things. I think if the baby is sick because out side is dusty or windy so baby is easy to get sick.
- when your wife is pregnant about 7 -9 months , you should buy ripe coconut juice for her to drink because it is good when she give a birth.
There are too many things.... I believe some but I try to believe what are reasonable too.
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by StroppyChops » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:44 am

It's my understanding that many Khmer don't understand how pregnancy occurs, and are highly sceptical when informed. Is this so?
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by Mr. Yan » Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:47 pm

Thanks Anchor Moy, I was looking for something just like that. Prahkeitouj, some of those explationations make more sense to me now, thanks for the input.
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by Samouth » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:59 am

This is an interesting thread, i should have given my take on this when it was just posted, but i didn't see it.
Well, Cambodians do believe in superstition.
Here are some of the interesting beliefs of Cambodians. If you are living in the village, you might have come across or heard about them.

1. We believe that there are spirit in the forest, mountain, home and every big tree. If you go into the forest and you want to pee, you have to ask for permission first, otherwise those spirit will make your sexual organ swollen.

2. We believe that if you are boy-girl identical twin, in the past life you were couple and you didn't manage to live together as you might were separated by the boy or the girl family. So you committed suicide together, that's why you reborn again together.

3. Like Anchor Mouy mentioned, my mom will never let me drink cold water and take the bath, if i get sick or fever.

4. The pregnant woman is not allowed to sit at the door of the house or room, as it's believed that she will not able to give birth which can be resulted in dead.

5. Don't take picture which has only three people. We believed that if we take picture which has only three people, one of us will die.

There are more, but this time i can't think of other. :)
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by Samouth » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:01 am

StroppyChops wrote:It's my understanding that many Khmer don't understand how pregnancy occurs, and are highly sceptical when informed. Is this so?
I guess some of Cambodians might not be able to explain, but not many. :)
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If you know a lot, know enough to make them respect you, if you are stupid, be stupid enough so they can pity you.
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by taabarang » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:24 pm

StroppyChops wrote:It's my understanding that many Khmer don't understand how pregnancy occurs, and are highly sceptical when informed. Is this so?
The local rural schools have introduced sex education classes at the grade school level. It's the usual basic stuff about Mr. Sperm meets Ms. Egg, but exactly what facilitated their roundez-vous remains a carefully guarded mystery by a shy and giggling school marm. I really doubt that there is anyone that naive who doesn't know, but if there is they're probably in Cambodia.
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by prahkeitouj » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:51 pm

Mr. Yan wrote:Thanks Anchor Moy, I was looking for something just like that. Prahkeitouj, some of those explationations make more sense to me now, thanks for the input.
You are welcome! :)
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Re: Traditional Khmer beliefs, treatments, superstitions?

Post by juansweetpotato » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:54 pm

Samouth wrote:This is an interesting thread, i should have given my take on this when it was just posted, but i didn't see it.
Well, Cambodians do believe in superstition.
Here are some of the interesting beliefs of Cambodians. If you are living in the village, you might have come across or heard about them.

1. We believe that there are spirit in the forest, mountain, home and every big tree. If you go into the forest and you want to pee, you have to ask for permission first, otherwise those spirit will make your sexual organ swollen.
I have understood these things myself from an innate 'intuition'. Spirit of the forest, mountain, home, one can feel the power in those places. Calafornian LSD has confirmed all the above :D Cog Sci has suggested that it could be due to humans spending millions of years in the forests and nature and its genetic 'draw'. They make the point that we don't hang desert scenes on our walls as they denote baron landscapes that would not support life. Rather we prefer pastoral scenes of meadows and forest, bountiful in appearance with somewheere close to hide from danger.
Trees? yes indeed. When my bro was going through the 12 steps he got me to hug my first tree. Amazing! Ask permission first.
2. We believe that if you are boy-girl identical twin, in the past life you were couple and you didn't manage to live together as you might were separated by the boy or the girl family. So you committed suicide together, that's why you reborn again together.
I like that one.
3. Like Anchor Mouy mentioned, my mom will never let me drink cold water and take the bath, if i get sick or fever.
My mum wouldn't let us take a bath if we had a cold either, passed down from my grandmother. Nor were we allowed to go to the cinema on Sundays!! too many germs :facepalm: It was only years later that I discovered the therapeutic benefit of having a warm bath when I had a cold. And it didn't kill me.
4. The pregnant woman is not allowed to sit at the door of the house or room, as it's believed that she will not able to give birth which can be resulted in dead.
No idea about that one. Apart from someone may open the door quick.

5. Don't take picture which has only three people. We believed that if we take picture which has only three people, one of us will die.
Wonder where this comes from? Number theory? In the UK we have a saying " Two's company, threes a crowd.?
There are more, but this time i can't think of other. :)
Cheers please post more if you remember any. I think a lot of them have roots in even western cultures past.
Education has for the main part got us away from superstitious beleifs, but plenty of people in Europe still see ghosts and get freaked when a black cat crosses their path. Do you have the one about it being unlucky to walk under ladders? I always thought that was a very sensible one myself.
Last edited by juansweetpotato on Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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