Cultural traditions related to new born vary round the world. From the pre pregnancy period to the birth of the new child all rituals vary from culture to culture. There are various rituals followed worldwide but each has a deep meaning hidden behind it. A new child brings lots of hope and joy not only to the parents, but also to the family and society so different culture welcomes their new born differently. Wonderful than weird but in countries like Bulgaria and Lithuania there is two years of paid maternity leave so that the mother can rest properly. In Indonesia a 90 minute massage is must to a child and mother at least for a month to practice of bathing the new born and mother with cow urine and milk in India, there are various other traditional rituals followed around the world. Here is the list of top ten birth ceremonies followed round the world:
10. What is in a Name?
All over the world the ritual of naming the new born is a religious affair. It just not include deciding a name for the new baby as per his or her personality, there a lot more attached to it. In all the culture there is a heavy emphasis on the naming ceremony. Tibetans do not name their baby until all the birth rituals are not complete. The newly born is either named by a living Buddha, the parents or the senior most prestigious person of the community. Even in Jewish tradition the baby girl is named on the first Sabbath from the day she is born, and Male child is named after the 8th day of the birth. Most amazing one is that of Germany where parents have to adhere to the list of government-approved names. The reason behind this is to save the person from any mockery or hardship due to the presence of an unusual name.
9. India – First solid food feeding ceremony
Annaprasana is a ceremony performed after the sixth or seventh month of the birth of the child. Depending upon the gender of the baby the date is decided, six month for the baby boy and odd months for the baby girl. This ceremony involves tasting the solid food to the baby for the first time. Prayers are performed, and mantras are enchanted in the ceremony. The child is fed kheer using a gold ring either in front of a priest or in a temple. This ceremony is always planned after the naming ceremony. After this ritual only the child is allowed to have solid food as a diet.
8. Chinese – confinement with mother
In the Chinese culture they have the tradition Called ‘zuo yue’. In which the mother of the newly born child is not allowed to go outside her room or house. This is practiced for 30-40 days after the birth of the child. It is believed that if she will go out she will be exposed to outside air which will weaken her immunity. The purpose behind is to safeguard new mother from wind which can weaken her body and will also make her vulnerable to any ailment in the future. She is not even exposed to windows, fans or air condition. Chinese also believe that taking shower or a hair wash can lead to cold to both of them mother as well as the child. So therefore they prevent new mothers from doing so. This tradition is practiced even in some parts of India also.
7. Irish – sprinkle cake on child’s head
Irish are primarily catholic, but their christening ritual is practiced in the modern catholic style. On the wedding day there is a tradition of Irish whiskey cake, the couple saves the top most tier of the cake. It is saved till the christening of their first child and on the day of the christening ritual it is served by the new parents, and they also cover the head of the baby with the same cake crumbs. It is a symbol of the complete circle of human life. On the occasion of christening crumbs are scattered on the baby’ head in celebration for his long life. Even they have a tradition in which Irish bride carries a Hanky on her wedding day and later it is converted into a bonnet for the new born on the eve of christening.
6. Japanese & Nigerians – connection to umbilical cord
In the Japanese culture when the umbilical cord of the new born falls off. The family saves in a heso. Heso is a wooden box specially designed to keep the umbilical cord. They see it as a symbol of mother and child’s relationship. It signifies how a mother and a child are related to each other from the past, present and future. Japanese attach a great meaning to the umbilical cord, according to them it is the umbilical cord which attaches the strong bond of unconditional love between a mother and a child, and therefore they store it for the life time. On the other side Nigerians bury the after-birth. In most of the African countries they have the tradition to bury the placenta that too under a tree. They treat it as a dead twin of the living child and practice respectfully all death rites.
5. Eskimos – Husband act as a Mid-wife
Earlier in 1920s among polar Eskimos husband had a major role in the birthing process. The husband of the pregnant women uses to dig a shallow hole which acted as a bed. The hole was covered with animal skin,and this bed was particularly used during the delivery process. When the lady start undergoing with the labor pain, she was shifted to the prepared bed and then her husband used to lean by her side. He would then start by pressing down her belly to smoothen the birthing process. After the birth, the father cut the umbilical cord using a knife and would tie the cord of the new mother to discontinue the bleeding. The placenta was then wrapped in animal skin and was left out for animals to eat.
4. Balinese – don’t touch the ground
There is a custom in Balinese where after the birth of the baby its feet should not touch the floor for the first six months. On the first birthday of the new born that is after 210 days of the actual birth, the child is allowed to keep his feet down. Balinese deeply believes in the spirit world. They feel that keeping down the baby will discharge his energy. Not only that they even feel that showing the feet of the baby to the ground will bring bad health and future for the new born. During the tenure of those six months mother and other family members keep a close view on the child. As soon as the child gets up from sleep they hold the baby to make sure that he does not touch the ground even by mistake.
3. Shaving the hair off
In many cultures shaving off the hair of newly born head is a common ritual. Mainly in Hinduism and Islam it is a part of the routine new born ceremonies. In Islam it is practiced as a ritual called Aqeeqah. In Aqeeqah the hair is shaved, and an equal amount of either gold or silver is donated to someone poor or needy. It is a gesture to thank Allah for blessing the parents with a child. Generally it is done when the child is 7 days old, after the ceremony a big get together is planned. Even the sacrifice of an animal like goat or buffalo is also performed after the charity. In Hindu culture it is called Mundan. After shaving the hair off that is offered to the holy water. According to experts it has more meanings attached to it in terms of scientific reasons as compared to religious ones.
2. Navajo – Comfort and Security wooden Blankets
The Navajo community of Indian tradition still uses wooden cradle-board to place their new born. They tightly tie their new baby with the wooden sheet. The basic idea behind this is that the tight closeness to the sheet makes him feel relaxed and comfortable. While the baby feel relaxed he sleep and this time is efficiently utilized by mothers to finish up their incomplete tasks. It is also believed that the hard sheet provides help in the development of straight and strong back. They are close to their cultural values and tradition till date and strictly follow them even in the modern world. Even the well developed and technologically advanced medical science uses the practice followed in Navajo community.
1. Pakistan – to be mum moves out
In Pakistan a very weird ritual is followed. Few days before the birth of the new child, the pregnant mother is taken to a building called Bashleni. This building is out of a home and is situated into a place away from the main city. The building is painted beautifully with pictures of animals and the goddess of birth. There is a small shrine of their birth goddess. As per Islam rules only unclean women who include those who are undergoing their menses are allowed to enter that building to help the pregnant lady. The weirdest among all is that all the women have to be naked even the mid wife