Wonderful birth traditions around the world
Any mom will tell you that there’s nothing more memorable than the birth of her baby. That experience is unique, but also universal. And despite the modernization of childbirth almost everywhere, many sacred rituals and traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. Here are some of the most intriguing birthing traditions around the world!
Bali – placenta burial
In Bali, families traditionally bury the placenta as it’s believed to be the newborns twin sibling. The placenta is cleaned, sealed in a container, wrapped in white cloth and buried outside of their home.
Newborn babies are seen as too holy to touch the ground until they are around 105 days old. This symbolizes their crossing over to our earthly realm.
Brazil – gifts from the new mom
Instead of being showered with gifts, Brazilian moms shower their guests with gifts. She will give people who come to visit her and her newborn a basket of presents. The basket usually contains candy, biscuits and souvenirs, and a note from the baby thanking friends and family for visiting.
Dominican Republic – gender reveal silverware
Who really wants to wait 20 weeks to identify the gender of their baby? Well, within rural families in the Dominican Republic they take matters into their own hands. They place a spoon, a knife and a fork under three different chairs, and ask the mom-to-be to choose one to sit on. If she sits on the chair over the spoon, she will have a girl, if she picks the one with the knife, she will have a boy; the fork means gender is undetermined.Ecuador – sweaty shirt for mom
In rural Ecuador, one of their traditions is for the husband to give his wife a sweaty shirt to wear during labor. This shirt has been sweat in for a day of hard work, and is said to give the woman strength.
Also, following the birth, moms and babies are shielded from sunlight. And for three days, the moms’ bodies are tightly wrapped in order to “realign their bones” and strengthen their bodies. After a few weeks of rest, women are given a warm bath with herbs, perfume, and a cup of milk, to symbolize their re-entry into the social world with new tasks and responsibilities to manage.
If you visit a French family who have a new baby, they will give you a little box of pink or blue sugar and chocolate almonds as one of their traditions. These treats are traditional symbols of health, fertility, long life, happiness and prosperity. Another more modern custom consists of offering the baby a squeaky giraffe called Sophie. This teething toy is the most popular baby gift in France.
Japan – rest and food ceremony
In Japan, like in many other parts of Asia, childbirth is believed to be a natural life experience that does not end once the baby is born. For 20 days after childbirth, it is tradition for new mothers to recover in their parents’ home, staying in bed as much as possible. When babies are 100 days old, Japanese families hold their first food ceremony, called the “Okuizome”. This is when parents pretend to feed their baby with traditional dishes to make sure they never go hungry throughout their life.
Nigeria – special gifts and a bath
Nigerian families follow the tradition of “Omugwo” which translated means “postpartum care”. With Omugwo, the grandmother (if she’s unavailable, an aunt or close friend) gives the baby their first bath. This first wash shows the mother that she is not alone in childrearing, and other women in the community will always help her. In addition, babies born in the Yoruba community are given water so they have no enemies, palm oil for a stress-free life, kola nut for a long and healthy life and salt and pepper to keep things fun and spicy.
Scotland – silvering baby
Babies in Scotland are given a silver coin to bring them good luck and prosperity. However, if they firmly grip the coin, this suggests they will grow up to be a miser; if the coin is dropped quickly, this means that the newborn may become a shopaholic.
Spain – newborn ear piercing
A Spanish tradition is to pierce their newborn baby girl’s ears, to distinguish that she is in fact, a girl. Nowadays, however, more parents wait until their daughter is of age to decide for herself, but this custom still remains extremely popular in many regions.
Turkey – serbeti, handkerchief and an egg
To celebrate the new baby and get milk flowing, it is Turkish tradition for mothers to drink a “lohusa serbeti” translated as “postpartum sherbet”. This is a beverage made with water, cinnamon, sugar, cloves and red food coloring. After 20 days, mother and baby visit friends and family, where they receive candy and an egg for a good-natured, healthy baby.
United States of America – the famous blanket
In U.S. hospitals, babies are swaddled in a white flannel blanket with pink and blue stripes. These sweet blankets have been made by Medline® since at least the 1950’s. President of the Medline® textiles’ division estimates they’ve sold around 25 million blankets since 1980. This means that many of today’s first-time parents were snugly wrapped in the same classic style as their newborn babies are today.
I hope you enjoyed our trip around the world! Do you know any other foreign pregnancy traditions you want to share with us? Comment below and make us travel and wonder!