As with many other things, like the way we dress, the food we eat and the way we celebrate religious holidays – pregnancy and birth traditions are also differ in other cultures and countries around the world.
Here is a look at some of the most interesting traditions we’ve found:
In Turkey, celebrations are postponed until after the baby is born. They don’t have a baby shower before baby’s arrival like we traditionally do in South Africa. Instead, mom and baby stay at home for 20 days after the delivery – friends are welcome to come and visit and sip on a traditional drink – called lohusa serbeti. After the 20-day period, mom and baby visit the home of gift givers where they receive a handkerchief filled with candy and an egg. During these visits, flour is rubbed on the baby’s eyebrow’s and hairline by the hosts to grant him a long life.
In Latin America moms go into quarantine for 40 days after birth to recuperate from the labour. (This is a tradition we would definitely like to adopt).
This country doesn’t allow you to just willy nilly pick the first baby name that pops into your head. Parents must stick to a list of accepted names approved by the government. Why you wonder? You must be able to tell the gender of the child by the first name, and the name chosen mustn’t negatively affect the well-being of the child. Also, you can’t use last names or the names of objects or products as first names. However, you can choose any baby name you like – but it might not get approved by the office of vital statistics. You can appeal the decision if they reject your baby name, but you pay a fee every time, which is why German parents choose to stick to the traditional list.
In Japan, fathers are not allowed into the delivery room unless they have taken a prenatal class. After the birth, the new mom traditionally stays with her parents where she rests in bed for 21 days recuperating from the birth and bonding with baby while family members help with chores.
Will you be able to stand the suspense? Folkloric custom is still used in this country to determine the sex of the baby. A spoon, knife and fork are placed under three different chairs. The mom-to-be chooses a chair to sit on – and the gender of baby is then revealed: spoon is a girl, knife a boy and fork means the gender is unknown.
In Bali the placenta is buried as it is believed to be alive and almost like a twin sibling of the newborn. Babies are treated like Gods here – they are seen as being descended from heaven. Their feet can’t touch the ground for 210 days.
Home births are very popular in Holland – women only see their gynaes if they have a high-risk or complicated pregnancy. When baby is born, they placed a stuffed stork in a window facing the street to announce the baby’s birth.
In Nigeria baby gets his first bath from nana or another close friend or family member if the grandmother is not available. This first bath symbolises that the mom is not alone in raising her baby and that the community will always be there to help her. The mom also gets a belly-flattening massage from the grandmother with a towel dipped in hot water.
*Article originally published on All4Women
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