- for the town in Nepal see Lihi, Nepal
In the Philippines
is a condition in which a pregnant
woman craves strongly for something: typically food, such as sour mango
. Lihi is universal in the Philippines. Almost all mothers of any race experience lihi. It is disputed whether lihi is biological or psychological in nature.
Lihi also refers to a popular superstition that the offspring will closely resemble the thing for which the mother craved during pregnancy. When a child looks exactly like an animal -- for example, a manatee -- it is said that during pregnancy, the mother enjoyed looking at that particular animal.
In other regions, lihi refers to the superstition that whatever a pregnant woman imbibes through any of her five senses influences the development of her child. Among indigenous people from the northern Philippines, for example, it is considered taboo to mention anything about animals (for example rats or pigs) near a pregnant woman for fear that when she hears this, her offspring may acquire features of the mentioned animal.
The latter superstition is not limited to the Philippines. In the Bible
, in Genesis 30:36-43, Jacob took advantage of lihi. He developed spotted and speckled cattle, sheep, and goats by taking rods from trees, partially stripping them of their bark so they appeared spotted and marked, and placing them into the animals' watering troughs. The flocks brought forth "ringstraked, speckled and spotted" offspring which Jacob received as part of an agreement.