Does your family observe these strange beliefs and practices?
There are a number of beliefs and superstitions that surround child-rearing, parenting, and childbirth that can be astounding, frightening, and sometimes, just downright weird. Depending on where you are in the world, the traditional wisdom can vary – and it could look very strange for some of you!
Here are the next 5 superstitions and customs around the world are when it comes to parenting.
Superstition # 6
“Sumo wrestlers should make babies cry.” - Japan
Bringing babies to tears is a belief around the world that has different implications, but in Japan, there’s a saying that goes “naku ko wa sodatsu”, which roughly translates to “babies who cry are fast growers”.
Thus, during the Nakizumo Festival, parents willingly give their babies to sumo wrestlers, who then try to make the children cry. Like the doctor slapping a baby’s bum after birth, crying during this event is considered as a sign of good health.
The Japanese believe that the louder the baby cries, the most blessed they will be. Loud cries ward off evil spirits, they say.
Superstition # 7
“Apply saliva on a baby’s forehead.” - Philippines
Despite having a large, Catholic population due to Spanish colonization, the Filipino people aren’t strangers to a lot of pagan, superstitious beliefs, including this one that saves children from distress due to... compliments?
Filipinos believe in usog, which can be somehow translated to children undergoing distress caused by an evil eye hex. When afflicted with this curse, a child may develop a fever, and in worse cases, convulsions.
To counter the effects of usog, relatives and visitors are often asked to refrain from complimenting babies. However, if they think the baby is too adorable not to be complimented, they should say “PWERA USOG”, which is a sort of incantation to save the baby from distress, and that the person saying it meant no harm.
However, if the child is indeed hexed with usog, the clothes worn during the affliction of the curse should be boiled. In other places, the visitor is asked to rub some saliva on the baby’s chest, forehead, or shoulder before leaving the house.
“Wait seven days before celebrating a birth.” - Egypt
Egyptian culture is steeped in religious beliefs and lore – as such, it’s no wonder that they made it to this list!
When it comes to newborns, Egyptian families hold a Sebou, which is somewhat akin to a baby shower, only that it is done seven days AFTER birth. This ceremony is recognized as a rite of passage that involves scaring the baby with loud noises to teach bravery and courage, placing a baby on a sifter or screen with a blade safely nestled upon the chest as a symbol to stave off evil, while the mother hops back and forth seven times over her young one.
Guests are also made to sprinkle salt around the home and on the mother herself as a precaution to keep bad spirits away. This is followed by gift giving, usually of religious verses on parchment rolls as well as some simple jewellery.
“My baby’s first steps will dictate his future.” - Bulgaria
Proshtapulnik, which is old Bulgarian for “first steps” is a beloved tradition in this Eastern European country, involving a child making his first few steps towards his or her own future career.
In this fun little ceremony, a table is set in front of the toddler with a few items that may symbolize different professions and industries. For example, a screwdriver may symbolize engineering, a ball for sports, a toy syringe for the medical field, or a chalkboard to become a teacher. As the toddler marches towards the table with his first steps, he would pick one of the items. The first one he picks would decide his future career.
Bulgarians also believe that it is bad luck when a blue-eyed person looks at your baby. In order to rid a baby of any bad luck, parents would wrap a red thread bracelet around a baby’s wrist. It is also believed that parents should wash the baby’s right eye and left foot for three straight three days every morning and night to effectively get rid of any curse.
But we have one better – use an organic shampoo [link to Babyology products] to rid of any dirt in a natural way!
“Leis are bad luck in Hawaii for pregnant mothers! - USA”
When visiting Hawaii, you’d typically be welcomed with leis, which are flower necklaces given to visitors as a token of welcome or farewell.
However, the same gesture cannot be applied for expectant mothers. Many locals consider it bad luck for pregnant women to wear closed lei, or any other necklaces for that matter. It is said that these loops symbolize the umbilical cord tied around an unborn child’s neck, which can cause the latter’s death.
Another fascinating superstition in the volcanic islands involve burying umbilical cords in craters. Lake Waiau, in particular, is one of the highest lakes on earth. It is believed to hold some magical properties, and thus, a baby would have long life by throwing the cord into the lake.
What other superstitions do you follow in your country? Do you have any personal beliefs you share? Let us know in the comments