The birth of a new baby is always cause to celebrate. In the United States, people go out of their way to shower new parents and the baby with food and gifts to show their delight at the arrival of a healthy new bundle of joy. But if you travel around the globe, you'll discover that different cultures have unique ways of welcoming a new life into the world. If you're looking to go beyond cupcakes and flowers, you may be interested to learn the ways people around the world celebrate the birth of a child.
Although new life is honored in different ways around the world, the health and safety of the mother and the overall well-being of the child are a universal concern. Many of the rituals involve the mother resting in her family's home, while loved ones bring congratulatory gifts. In some cultures, shaving baby's head, piercing her ears, and even rubbing flour on her eyebrows are viewed as ways to keep her safe from the evils of the world.
So as you are preparing to celebrate the arrival of your new baby, why not take inspiration from another culture by trying one or more of these rituals that speaks to you? Or if you're feeling really creative, why not create one of your own?
1. Eating In Bed
According to Parents, it is customary for a new mother to stay in bed for 21-days after giving birth in Japan. During this time, the mother eats a traditional celebratory dish called sekihan, which is red rice with red beans.
2. Gifts Of Gold
Babies born in Guyana are blessed with some pretty shiny gifts when they are born, according to What to Expect The site reported that Guyanese moms celebrate the birth of their babies when they turn nine days old, with guests typically bringing a gold bracelet as a gift for the newborn.
3. Trick Or Treat
According to Parents, new mothers in Turkey stay home with their babies for the first 20 days after giving birth. After that, the mother takes her new baby around to visit friends' homes to collect a handkerchief with an egg, for a healthy baby and candy, for a good-natured baby. It is also customary to rub flour on baby's eyebrows, a gesture that is supposed to give him a long life.
4. A Celebratory Snack
As mentioned on What To Expect, new parents in the Netherlands offer guests who come to visit baby a snack of "beschuit met muisjes" or cookies with butter and sugar coated licorice in pink for girls or blue for boys.
5. Take A Little Off Of The Top
On the 7th, 14th, or 21st day after a baby is born in Pakistan, a traditional naming ceremony takes place. As part of the ritual, Huffington Post noted the infant’s head is shaved. An animal is also often sacrificed and made as an offering during this time.
6. Where There's Smoke
In Thailand, the birth of a new baby is a reason to start a fire. According to the BBC, new mothers in Thailand participate in jufaj, a ritual which involves spending 11 days lying next to a fire. They believe the fire will heal the uterus and drive away evil spirits.
7. A Little R&R For Mom
In Maylasia, new mothers are all about getting their pre-baby body back. They spend 44 days sitting by a fire while applying hot oils and stones to their bodies. Maylasian mothers also engage in bengkung, a ritual which involved binding their midsections, according to the BBC.
8. A Sweet Treat
In much of Hindu and Muslim culture, it is believed that new babies should experience the taste of something sweet before anything else, according to Huffington Post. This is to ensure that the baby speaks sweetly. In most instances, parents rub a small amount of honey to the roof of baby's mouth.
9. Cry It Out
According to BBC, new Japanese babies participate in an ancient ritual called Nakizumo. As part of the tradition, babies are pit against one another in a ring, and the baby who cries first is declared the winner. The culture suggests that babies who cry are healthier. There probably aren't many people out there who would want to buy tickets for this one.
10. Ear Piercing
According to the Huffington Post, some new Hindu parents participate in a ceremony called Karnavedha, in which baby has her ears pierced. It is believed that the pierced ears protect a new baby from evil spirits. It also gives you a reason to buy some adorable baby earrings.
11. Plant The Placenta
According to Parents, in many cultures, new mothers bury the placenta after their baby's birth. This ritual is symbolic of baby's connection to the earth. Many families commemorate the birth of off their babies by planting the placenta in the same area with roses or other plants.