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3 Scary Tales to Make Me Sleep in the Afternoon
I don’t know with your family but siesta was and is still is a large part of Filipino culture. Sleeping in the afternoon is as important as breathing itself. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I’m sure you get the point.
Siesta, as the term itself suggest came from the Spanish when the Philippines was under their rule. It sipped into the culture of Filipinos and until now many families practice this. But who in his right mind will pass up the chance to play outside? For a child, this is like sentencing him to solitary confinement in a maximum security prison. We have to get out and break free! The tug-of-war and the occasional bribery to get us to rest was a raging war stippled with a few spanking, crying and sometimes outwitting. But among the strategies that really worked against my young and gullible mind were stories so horrid that I’d rather endure sleeping in the afternoon than play outside. Parents can be manipulative.
The afternoon monster
I clearly remember the tales of the afternoon monster that my mom would tell us. It came to eat the souls of the kids after it has devoured the human flesh. We can be saved if we take afternoon naps. OK, what kind of mom would do such a thing? They were all lies! First, monsters come out at night not in the afternoon. Next, they don’t eat souls they simply let the devil take it to the place where fire is never quenched and worms don’t die. Lastly, monsters sleep in the morning until the afternoon, there’s no way you can get them to prowl for children during siesta. Parents can be so imaginative!
Tale of the crawling root
The legend, as my mom told me was that kids who did not rest in the afternoon will find themselves in the clutches of a crawling root. To prove her point, she placed a glass jar with ginseng beside our beds. Anyone who does not know what ginseng is will surely believe that some form of witchcraft is behind this grotesque figure. She even went further saying that this root used to be a child who did not take his afternoon nap. Now, it’s this kid that crawls around looking for kids who won’t take afternoon naps. Next to the afternoon monster, this was a horrid way to die. So after inspecting the jar I asked a very logical question – was the boy Chinese? Then I pointed at the label on the side, “imported from China”. Of course my mom said yes with a stunned look in her face. From that time, I feared ginseng.
I will not grow
Can you imagine being locked in the same body and not growing at all? Well, that’s another tale my mom would tell us just to coerce us to get a shut eye. She said that children who opted to play and not sleep will not grow and remain as they are. In retrospect, two things come to mind. First, why did I not choose to be a kid all my life? Second, at 5 feet 5 inches, I don’t think siesta did any help when it came to growing.
Sleep is important. This is a fact medical professionals can attest to. I grew up with siesta being part of my heritage not just for medical and health reasons. Whether it has done me good or not, is not the question. It’s just interesting how parents convince children to sleep instead of play.