I had a very interesting conversation with the woman who does my hair removal yesterday.
hair removal= 'sweet' or 'Helowa', ie lumps of toffee which get rubbed onto legs then ripped off with hair attached.
anyway- she was telling me that her grandmother swore by one remedy to ensure a girl wasn't hairy.
When a baby girl was born- you should kill a crow, cut its throat, and rub its blood onto the baby girls legs and arms.................seemingly, if you do this she will grow up completely hair free! ( obviously you take care not to spill any of the blood on her head!!!)
another interesting thing she did was when i was just about to go out the door in a new costume, she put her hand, spread out on the door post. The 'hamsa' the '5' to protect from jealousy, and the touching wood being important too! she was also telling me that sometimes you touch a wooden table on the top and then on the bottom too- so you have touched wood from both side so protecting yourself from all angles!!!! Guess thats where our expression 'touch wood' comes from too!
she also said I should give money to poor people just before ramadan- because then their prayers to God would work to help me and my family too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I explained that if I was to give money to poor, its because I wanted to- not becuase I wanted added bonus from their prayers.
Another one was that, in the country, where you make your own bread rather than buy it- you must offer the seive you have used to sift the flour with to your guests, otherwise when they leave the house then money and jewellary and everything in the house might leave too.......... assuming I understaood that one right anyway ( not sure what arabic for seive is!!!)
more to come on this vein......................... very interesting!