The Custom of Dismantling the Kitchen is a passed down practice by women after giving birth to look after their health and to forgo the abstinence ties during the abstention period of 40 days or 44 days. The community calls it as abstinence or heat one self (Berdiang) period which means the said women are to rest from doing their normal household chores that may affect their health. The period too can discipline the mothers by taking nutritional food and to manage one self so that to be continually healthy.
According to the Terengganu community, the Berdiang is a process to heat the mother body, cleanse the dirty blood, stimulate blood flow and shrink the womb. The mother who has just given birth lie down on a sleeping bed of which underneath it is placed a heated stove filled with firewood and charcoal. This heat is needed to heat up the body, shrink the womb and to dispel dirty blood.
The ingredients for this ceremony are rice flour, water, lime, raw thread and woven coconut leaves that are blessed before hand by the midwife. The flour is to heal any illness that might be inside the mother body. All these ingredients are used to bathe the mother, the baby and all the equipment used during the abstention period like the stove, sleeping bed and wrapping cloth. The sleeping bed and stove will then be dismantled after the ceremony.
THE FORGOING CEREMONY
The next process is the Forgoing Ceremony that is to release the official tie between the mother and the midwife. The ingredients are woven coconut leaves and raw thread. The woven coconut leaves are placed on the mother head and then pulled accompanied with prayers and mantras. The raw thread are wrapped around the body from the head down to the feet and then removed from the body. The end of this ceremony marks the end of the official tie between the mother and the midwife. They have been released from the abstention period and given the healer against any threats or evil wind.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS CUSTOM
This custom is believed to avoid the mother from getting body illness or illness of the nerve in future. It is also believed that it can avoid disturbances from evil elements within the surrounding during abstinence that might return to disturb both mother and baby. This ceremony is indirectly giving the mother a chance to appreciate the midwife service in managing both mother and baby during the abstinence period.
According to Cik Ngah Nan, an expert of this custom and has been handling midwifery for 34 years, this custom can still be practiced even if the midwife was not the one receiving the baby and the mother did not undergo the heating up process. If the newly-given birth mother who is released from hospital requests the service of the midwife during the abstention period then indirectly there established a tie between the mother and the midwife. As such, to release this official tie then the custom of dismantling the kitchen needs to be conducted.
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