What did you do when you welcomed your baby into the world? Apparently, your baby traditions may be so different from those practiced in other parts of the world.
Here are the most fascinating baby traditions in other countries.
Japanese parents keep their baby’s umbilical cord in a wooden box.
More than just keeping the baby shoes or a lock of hair, the Japanese values the umbilical cord. In fact, hospitals in Japan store the cord in beautiful wooden boxes and give them to the mothers once they are discharged. Some boxes contain a sleeping doll wrapped in a kimono, which is then used to wrap the umbilical cord. This tradition is meant to keep a good relationship between mother and child.
A week after the baby’s birth, the parents and other family members then host a baby naming ceremony, called the Oshichiya, in front of the Butsudan, the Buddhist altar in the family home.
Jamaicans plant a tree for the umbilical cord and afterbirth.
While the Japanese keeps the cord, the Jamaicans bury the afterbirth and cord in a chosen special location and plant a tree to signify that spot. The tree must be sponsored by parents, godparents, and friends. This tradition symbolizes that the child should be responsible since their life started with a new life – that of the tree.
Trinidad & Tobago believe in babies holding money.
Every time you visit a baby in Trinidad and Tobago, you should put money into the baby’s hand. This tradition aims to welcome prosperity and good blessings in the life of the baby.
Denmark and Sweden love putting their baby to sleep in the cold.
Ever think putting the baby to sleep outside, under the pouring snow? Apparently, exposing the baby to cold air may improve their appetite and sleeping habits. Swedish and Danish infants are often left on the sidewalk or the balcony asleep in the cold, while their parents go into cafes or stores to enjoy their time on their own.
They believe that exposing babies to fresh air, whether it’s summer or winter, makes them less vulnerable to catching colds. Even the Danish National Board of Health backs this practice up.
The Finnish government sends a “maternity package” to every baby.
It has been about 75 years since the tradition of the Finnish government giving a box to every expectant mother started. The box contains clothes, toys, and sheets, with the box easily converting into a bed for the baby.
The state also allows the mother to choose between a cash grant of around $190 and the box, although most mothers choose the latter because its contents cost more.
The starter kit tradition was launched to help low income families, although it became every parent’s privilege since 1949. It symbolizes that everyone, regardless of their background, can start at the same footing in life.
The Chinese give their babies red-dyed eggs for renewal of life and happiness.
A one-month old Chinese baby’s life is commemorated in the Full Moon ceremony. On the 30th day, relatives and friends prepare gifts for the baby and the parents, in return, prepare gifts for those relatives and friends. However, the most popular gifts are red-dyed eggs to make this most significant change in the baby’s life. The eggs are also the perfect gifts for their round shape that symbolizes a happy and harmonious life.
Egyptians shake their babies in a large sieve to help them get used to the changes in life.
Egyptians firmly believe in number seven and survival. This is why on the child’s seventh day, they host a naming ceremony called Sebooh to welcome the child into the world.
During the ceremony, the mom dresses the baby in a white robe and puts him or her in a large sieve. Then, she gently shakes it to welcome the baby into a dynamic life. Next, the baby is then placed on a blanket with a knife on his or her chest to shoo away evil spirits, as the guests surround the baby with gold, grains, and gifts to wish the baby a life of abundance. The mother then starts sidestepping over the baby’s body seven times to make sure no evil spirits will come close, while the guests chant for the baby to listen and be obedient to the mother.
The ceremony is then followed by a procession of incense and lights, led by the mother. Guests carry candles and incense as a way of blessing the house and its residents.
To pick the baby’s name, different candles representing different baby names will be lighted. The candle that lasts the longest will be chosen as the baby’s name.
In Bali, they consider babies as divinities sent from heaven, so their feet should be kept off the ground.
Balinese babies cannot touch the ground until their 201th day because of the belief that they are divinities who came down to earth from the heavens. Parents believe that once their babies’ feet touch the ground, it signifies their transition from being divinities to being humans.
Nigerians give their baby more than 20 names.
A Nigerian Yoruba baby girl or baby boy receives blessings on the seventh or ninth day, respectively, through their mother’s lips. These blessings include elements such as water to ward off enemies, bitter Kola (a Nigerian nut) for long life, palm oil to ensure an easy life, and pepper and salt for a sweet, substantial, exciting, and happy life.
The parents give the baby the family name and several other names, one of which should symbolize the circumstances in which the baby was born into. For instance, those who have elder twin siblings are named Idowu, meaning “child born after twins.”
Nigerian babies are also given a pet name to symbolize the parents’ hope for their children. Titilayo, for instance, means “an eternal happiness.”
Relatives are also allowed to give the baby more names in return for a token, usually money, which the parents should save for the child.
Malaysian moms are pampered with full-body ex-foliation and hot stone massages.
To get rid of postpartum body changes in moms, Malaysians give new moms a pantang, or a tradition that confines them for 44 days after delivering their baby. This treatment is designed to help restore the health and feminine aspects of the mom. During the course of the treatment, the moms get hot stone massages as a way of cleansing the womb and a full-body exfoliation for a soft, smooth, and light skin. Malaysians also caution new moms against lifting heavy things or basically doing anything except nursing the baby. The household chores must be completed by the husband, hired helper, or anyone who volunteers to help.
Brazilian moms welcome their baby’s well-wishers with gifts.
In Brazil, new moms prepare gifts for their baby’s visitors. It could just be small items, such as fridge magnets, candies, sachets, customized notepads, or even small bottles of perfume. These items usually come with a thank you note for visiting the baby.
Bulgarians spit in the baby’s eye.
Bulgarians believe that fawning over the baby might put him or her at risk of getting stolen or harmed by a jealous Devil. That’s why adults would pretend to spit on the baby and say something opposite of praising the baby to deceive the Devil.
In Guatemala, babies are given a freezing bath.
This tradition stems from the belief that a freezing bath in a hot country like Guatemala will prevent stroke or rashes. Mothers would put their babies in icy cold water that causes the babies to scream in pain, putting them to sleep right after the chilling bath.
Armenians let their babies choose their future.
The tradition involves putting the baby on the floor, surrounded by items that may symbolize their future, such as a spatula, a tape measure, a book, a stethoscope, and other objects. This Armenian ceremony is called the Agra Hadig, which only happens once the baby starts teething. Whatever the child chooses may predict his or her future. For instance, one who chose a stethoscope may become a doctor someday.
In Kalash, Pakistan, mothers must give birth to their baby alone.
The people in this Pakistani province believe that mothers due to give birth are polluted, so they should deliver their baby in isolation in a place called Basleni. Only women who are menstruating, and are also considered unclean, are allowed to assist in the delivery of the child.
When your child was born, you may have gleefully listened to what your parents, friends, and relatives have advised you about baby traditions. You can be a bit unconventional, depending on your personal views, but following long-kept traditions may make you feel like a part of something special. Moreover, it gives you something to talk about with other parents.