19 April 2011

The Rainbow Taboo


I was driving home with the kids two days ago when they spotted a beautiful rainbow and started yelling excitedly. It was no ordinary rainbow; big, bright and disconnected, or so it looked. A large part of it was totally hidden in the clouds. The contrasts of blue, colourful and white were just too beautiful to ignore. In their excitement, they pointed their fingers to the rainbow and without realizing it, I shrieked "DON'T".

I was as surprised as them with my reaction. "Why are you acting weird, Mom?", the eldest asked. "I...ah... it was just an old habit that dies hard", I ended up saying that. And very true indeed, when one grew up having been fed with a lot of taboos, one just stored them all inside, and when the occasion calls for it, the taboo-reaction just came out.

"It was the rainbow taboo", I told them. My late grandmother was a strong believer in it. She said if you point your finger to the rainbow, you're going to lose it. "Obuntung" (the meaning of which, till now I haven't discovered). Of course I never believed in that, but it is a taboo and it is one you should practice, shouldn't it? The kids rolled their eyes, but decided not to point their fingers at the rainbow anyway. And so I've passed down another taboo to the young ones...

3 comments:

Tina said...

I was fed the same stuff as a child. And I was a little scared to point at the rainbow the first few times. My finger is still intact!
I always thought 'obuntung' means to decay.

azamain said...

yeah,it was one of the most scariest of warnings from the elders then but I gave it a serious thought when I was in primary school and the conclusions : do not point with fingers at things you can't explain to people who are located in front of you[face to face] and at a distance,those people might have negative thoughts on you and the dusuns being a close knit community in the olden days,really want to preserve the harmony in any way possible. Changes in time [minutes,hours,days etc] saw this 'taboo' took a backseat,people now has a a more open approach to life BUT the finer reasons of it being practiced has a deep impact on me,until now-the intrinsic value and I am not alone [proud to say this!]......:)

Mommy's Recipe said...

My late mother said that if you accidentally pointed to a 'buluntung'(rainbow),you are to say "ambang-ambang,iya gulu komomos".