Usog is a similar concept to a evil eye hex which usually affects a child who is greeted/praised by a visitor or stranger. According to our elders once affected by usog the baby/child gets sick or would just become restless and would cry for hours.
To prevent this visitors are requested to (“lawayan ang bata” ) put his saliva in a finger and rub this on either the baby’s tummy, forehead or feet and say “pwera usog” before leaving. I just find it utterly disgusting to mark a baby with saliva! Whenever someone did this though I would secretly (didn’t want to offend the elders) wipe the area with antiseptic wipes.
Another practice is to let the newborn where a red bracelet (some a mix of red & black) called corales (beads are made from corals). The beads is believed to catch/block away the usog and would draw the visitors attention to the bracelet first before the baby.
When Auntie Bing found out that baby #2 is a girl she suggested to let the baby wear a corales bracelet, I requested a gold corales but they didn’t find any to their liking (they were looking for a design which was similar to what I wore when I was a baby). Her Lola Bing (grandma) bought her 3 bracelets and yes she wears them everyday.
And when all of the option above fail they say that boiling the clothes of the baby worn on the last place you came from will cure the restlessness and crying. Coincidence or not but I did this 1 time for V – When we reached my Aunts place after attending a New Year celebration on my husbands side my poor baby who was sleeping on the way home was suddenly crying (he was 3 months old). I tried everything from feeding to bathing him but he was still restless and already vomiting from crying and finally after 30 minutes my Aunt mentioned “baka na-usog ang bata” so she ask C to call his mom and ask for help. My MIL suggested we boil V’s clothes worn on the party when the water started boiling with his clothes V stopped crying and slept peacefully.
Do I believe in any of them? Well I can’t say that I don’t; let’s just say that there is no harm in following traditions as long as it doesn’t hurt the child or would ask me to do something really crazy/disgusting.
*Sahar from our baby massage class told me that I need to cleanse the beads daily by soaking them in salt and water mixture.
What are the practices that your family/elders do especially with a new baby?