Whichever part of the world we belong to, babies and the birthing experience is always special. Different cultures have different ways of celebrating the birth of a new life. Here are 10 different traditional ways of welcoming a child around the globe.
1. Babies’ Feet Cannot Touch the Ground (Bali)
Balinese babies’ feet cannot touch the ground until their 210th day of life–due to the fact that a baby is considered a divine being which descended from heaven. When the child’s feet touch the ground for the first time, it symbolizes their crossing over to become fully human.
2. The Afterbirth Cord Burial (Jamaica)
According to Jamaican tradition, after the mother gives birth, the afterbirth and cord are buried in a special location and a tree is planted on that spot. The tree is provided by parents, godparents, or other relatives and friends. The tree is a pedagogical tool which teaches the child to take responsibility in life, since it is used to show the child that this the beginning of his life and he must take care of it.
3. Placing the Baby in a Large Sieve and Shaking It (Egypt)
According to tradition, the mom places the baby –clothed in a white robe–in a large sieve and gently shakes it to help the newborn become accustomed to the vagaries of life. Next, the infant is laid on a blanket on the floor with a knife placed along his chest to ward off evil spirits, while the guests scatter grains, gold, and gifts around him. All are symbols of the plentiful abundance wished on the child. The mother side-steps seven times over the baby’s body, again to ward off evil spirits, while incantations are chanted by the attendants for the child to listen to what his mother says and always obey her.
4. Shoving Babies In Chilled Water (Mayans)
In hot countries like Guatemala, Mayan mothers think ice baths are the best way to fight the heat. The babies generally scream during their whole time in the bath, but the mothers don’t mind. They claim the baby goes to sleep right after. And whether or not that’s true, witnesses say that the ice bath really does cure heat rash.
5. The Brit Milah (Jewish)
It is a Jewish ritual during which baby boys are circumcised and named eight days after they are born. Many Jews, in Israel and around the world, participate in the ancient practice, which often takes place during morning prayers and is followed by a festive meal.
6. Spitting On The Baby (Mauritania)
The Wolof people of Mauritania and surrounding countries believe that human saliva can retain words, so they spit on newborns to add blessings that stick. When a baby is born, women spit on its face, men spit in its ear, and then, for good measure, they rub saliva all over its head
7. Eating The Placenta (China,Jamaica)
Modern practitioners claim that hormones from the placenta can relieve stress and curb post-partum depression.Scientists remain skeptical. Cooking the placenta destroys the hormones and other unique proteins, while eating it raw risks infection that outweighs any benefits.
8. Nwaran and Paasni (Nepal)
Nwaran is a child naming ceremony celebrated in Nepal.In the Hindu tradition, the Nwaran is celebrated on the 11th day after a child is born. This ceremony is performed to give a birthname to a child, according to his/her lunar horoscope, which is usually not the name by which he/she is known. Typically, a priest is invited to perform the ceremony at home, and divines finds the child’s lunar horoscope from his/her birth details, as the mother is still recovering at home with the child.
Pasni also known as rice feeding ceremony or Weaning Ceremony,is normally held after 6 months from birth for a baby is boy while if it is a baby girl, it is held after the fifth or seventh month.the baby is given a special outfit, usually made of red velvet and embroidered with silver and golden threads. Gold and silver ornaments are also given to the baby, like heavy silver anklets (kalli) carved with dragon at both the ends to keep the bad omens away from the baby as well as gold bracelet. The baby is first fed 83 varieties of food by the mother. The rest feed honey in warm water.
9. Gift-giving (Brazil)
In Brazil, the expectant mother prepares a basket with souvenirs that are given to each person who comes to the hospital when the baby is born. Usually, the gift is a small one, such as candies, fridge magnets, customized notepads, sachets, and even tiny bottles of perfume, all of which are chosen by the mother before the baby is born. Most of the time there’s also a message providing the baby’s name and thanking them for visiting.
10. Symbolic Items Choosing ceremony (Armenia)
When a baby get his first tooth, Armenian parents celebrate with a ceremony called Agra Hadig. They place the baby on the floor surrounded by symbolic items, such as a tape measure, a stethoscope, a spatula, a book and other objects. Parents then encourage the baby to choose one of the articles.
Whatever item the child picks up and plays with would symbolize his/her future. For example, if a boy chooses a tape measure, then it means that he’ll be an architect or an engineer. Of course, only time will tell.