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6 taboos for Taiwan's Xiaoman festival, including not showing navel

Don't consume cold drinks, waste rice, eat 'damp foods,' stay up late, or eat leftovers on Xiaoman

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(Pixy photo)

(Pixy photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Saturday (May 21) is Xiaoman (小滿), the second summer solar term in the lunisolar calendar, and like other Taiwanese festivals it has its own unique set of taboos.

In a Facebook post uploaded on Wednesday (May 18), numerology expert Hsiao Meng (小孟) pointed out that Xiaoman marks the period when the sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 60 degrees. Hsiao wrote that at this time, rice grains gradually mature, temperatures start to rise, and with increased rainfall, humidity becomes heavier.

He said that people need to remove "dampness," referring to low and weak qi (氣), from their bodies to ensure good health. Foods recommended by Hsiao to improve this condition include mung beans, wax gourd, Job's tears (Coix lacryma-jobi), and Chinese yam.

Hsiao then listed six taboos to avoid on Xiaoman:

1. Avoid exposing navel

The air is very humid on Xiaoman, therefore you are advised to keep your belly-button covered with a quilt when sleeping at night. Hsiao said that if one's navel is exposed to cool wind or air conditioning, this could cause dampness to enter the body and affect one's health.

2. Avoid cold drinks

The temperature during Xiaoman gradually rises, and many people want to drink cold drinks. However, Hsiao claims that drinking too much ice can lead to dizziness and rapid cardiovascular contractions. Therefore, he recommends consuming drinks at room temperature.

3. Don't waste rice

Xiaoman is the harvest time for some grains. It is not advisable to waste rice so as to avoid bad luck and a shortage of food and drink throughout the year.

4. Don't eat 'damp foods'

On Xiaoman, it is traditionally forbidden to eat foods that foster dampness, such as raw onion, ginger, raw garlic, eggplant, shrimp, and crab to avoid developing eczema and rheumatism.

5. Don't stay up late

The days are gradually growing longer and the nights shorter when Xiaoman comes around. Temperatures are starting to rise and increasing the energy consumption level of the human body. People can become easily fatigued during this period, and staying up late can lead to constipation, itchy scalp, and sore throat, Hsiao said.

6. Don't snack on leftovers

The rise in temperature and humidity on Xiaoman promotes the growth of bacteria and viruses. Leftovers should be avoided because they could easily nourish bacteria, which can lead to gastroenteritis or diarrhea.