As we learn more about the Chinese and their culture, we had to pass on this article about a unique Chinese custom, from the Shanghai Daily (English paper) on Saturday, March 12. The title of the the article is: “Custom of ‘virgin eggs’ not to everyone’s taste.”
The article says:
“As spring sets in, a strange smell permeates the air in Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province, as locals begin to eat the seasonal ‘virgin egg.'”
“‘Virgin eggs’ are actually eggs boiled in the urine of virgin boys. Most outsiders are appalled at the idea, but the eggs are selling well on every street corner of Dongyang. Costing 1.5 yuan (US $0.22) each, vendors often sell out, Quinjinag Evening News reported.”
“Although bizarre to some, the custom is part of the city’s intangible cultural–Dongyang people say the eggs have the taste of spring.”
“In recent weeks, school boys in Dongyang City were instructed to urinate into plastic barrels which are placed outside their classrooms, which are then collected by local residents. Local teachers accepted the practice and even reminded the boys not to use the barrels if they are sick.”
“‘It’s so delicious that I can eat 10 eggs a day,’ said a woman, surnamed Liu, who moved to Dongyang several years ago and developed a taste for ‘virgin eggs.'”
“‘I had never eaten them before I came here, but now I am addicted.’ she said.”
“However, not all Dongyang people are interested in them. One local resident, surnamed Li, said he had never tasted ‘virgin eggs.’ ‘I can’t stand the smell. It’s awful.'”
“In the eyes of many Dongyang people, ‘virgin eggs’ are the perfect tonic for spring. Egg vendors will tell you they help prevent springtime drowsiness and heatstroke in summer.”
“Doctors’ opinions on eating the eggs vary a great deal.”
“Wu Yunhua at Dongyang Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine told the newspaper that urine contains a kind of crystal that can ‘diminish the internal heat of the human body’ and stop bleeding.”
“But Huang Jian, the chief urology physician of Jinhua Central Hospital, contested that there is nothing good for people’s health to be found in the urine. ‘After all, it is waste from the body,’ he said.”
Wow! We are glad that we didn’t have this duty as teachers in our elementary schools in the US!
So, it there any truth to the health claims about urine?
Barbara has a student whose mother in a doctor of Chinese medicine. The student told Barbara that when she (the student) had a sore throat, her mother told her to gargle with her own urine and her sore throat would go away. The student said she couldn’t bring herself to do that. She said,”I think it would leave a bad aftertaste.”
Further research does show the use of urine in some Chinese medicine, such as washing babies faces with urine is good for the skin, along with the belief in the article about young boys’ urine and stopping bleeding (Wikipedia). Some other historical facts from Wikipedia include the Romans brushing their teeth with urine to whiten their teeth, and French women in the 17th century bathing in urine as it was believed good for the skin. In ancient yoga, drinking your own urine is said to aid meditation.
So maybe there is something to all this…? We did not put in any pictures this time…figured you can use your imagination! And we didn’t want to “piss anybody off!” You need to save that for other uses!