Every culture has different rituals and customs when welcoming a new baby into the world. A lot of these are to ensure the well being of the baby, and most are ancient traditions that have been passed down. Here are a few unique and fascinating ways that babies are celebrated across the globe.
Balinese babies’ feet cannot touch the ground until their 210th day of life, when a ritual called the “otonan”
is performed. Before otonan, the baby is considered a divine being, descended from heaven. When the child’s feet touch the ground for the first time, it symbolizes their crossing over to becoming fully human.
Guatemalan babies are bathed in ice-cold water in the belief that cold baths calm heat rash and assist with peaceful sleep. Mothers ignore their infants’ wails of protest, considering this a normal reaction to a healthy practice.
Seven days after birth, Egyptian parents hold a ritual called a “sebou”
to formally acknowledge the child and celebrate the birth. The practice dates back thousands of years.
On the 100th day after a baby is born, a celebration is held in honor of the child surviving these first months of life. The “samshin halmoni” (grandmother spirit) is offered rice and soup in thanks for caring for the infant and mother.
It is customary for Indian mothers to stay home or in “confinement” during their first weeks of having their baby. This tradition is normally 40 days to protect the baby from any early infections and germs.
In Japanese culture, mommies pat their baby’s tummies to sleep to soothe them with a drumbeat like rhythm. How cute!
A typical tradition in Brazil is that the new mother prepares a basket with souvenirs that are given to each person that comes to the hospital to visit. The souvenirs usually match the theme that has been picked for the baby’s nursery.
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.