Chan, Lady

Chan, Lady

Lady of Birth

ALSO KNOWN AS:

Ji Sung Niang Niang

ORIGIN:

China

Lady Chan, divine midwife, rules the birth process. She protects pregnant women and babies and oversees labor. In her most famous legend, a Sung Dynasty official’s daughter-in-law suffered a puzzling, never-ending pregnancy. The young woman had been pregnant for seventeen months when a woman mysteriously appeared at the door, announcing that she was the midwife. She had not been summoned; she just appeared out of the blue. Identifying herself as Mrs. Chan from Foochow, she immediately took charge, demanding a special birthing room for this special pregnancy. As per her directions, a large hole was dug in the room and filled with sharp stakes. The pregnant woman was placed above it and with the midwife’s help delivered a white snake, which was trapped inside the hole.

The family, impressed and relieved, sought to pay the midwife lavishly but she refused all money and gifts, asking for and accepting only one white handkerchief. She blessed the young woman and departed. Although things returned to normal for the family, they always remembered this strange experience and thought of the midwife fondly. When the official visited Foochow, he decided to look up Mrs. Chan and offer further thanks. Although he searched high and low, she could not be found, nor had anyone heard of her. Finally someone recommended that he try the local birth goddess’ shrine, as that was where all the local midwives went to pay obeisance. When the official approached the shrine’s votive statue, he saw, attached to it, the handkerchief given Mrs. Chan. He took a good look at the statue and recognized her as his midwife.

FAVOURED PEOPLE:

Lady Chan is venerated almost exclusively by women. She is the matron saint of midwives and pregnant women.

Sacred site:

Lady Chan’s shrine and miraculous statue may be visited in Foochow, now more popularly spelled Fuzhou, Fujian Province, in China.

OFFERINGS:

Candles, incense, handkerchiefs

SOURCE:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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