The gestation and birth of a baby are incredible stages in the life of a woman and a family. During these processes, each culture has a way of looking at them with normal customs, such as taking special care of food or common traditions.
However, in some countries, these periods are permeated by somewhat weird customs even before the woman becomes pregnant, during pregnancy and after the birth of the child. Check below which ones they are.
1 – Balinese babies can’t touch the floor
Several strange ceremonies surround the birth of Bali. The Setra ARI ARI, for example, is one. Balinese believe that the placenta, or ari ari, has a spirit of its own that acts as a guardian angel of the child. Parents, therefore, must bury the placenta with a ritual in a special cemetery.
But this may not even be that different, for in other parts of the world this is happening as part of traditions of humanized childbirth. The really strangest custom for Bali babies is that they should not touch the floor until they are three months old.
According to Balinese traditions, the newborn is considered pure and any contact with the ground within three months will contaminate it. Then, as soon as the little one is three months old, the family performs a formal ceremony, in which the baby is placed on a dirty floor for the first time.
2 – Mothers who eat the placenta
Bury the placenta in a special place, in a garden or in a vase. So far, all reasonably normal. Now imagine eating the placenta? Because many animal kingdom moms do this instinctively as a way of helping their puppy or cleaning it right after birth.
Through maternal “placentology”, females eat their own placenta also to absorb hormones and other nutrients. It turns out that some humans believe this is really good for them too. Traditional medicines from China, Jamaica, and parts of India recommend the practice for various mystical reasons.
Some claim that placental hormones can relieve stress and reduce depression. But scientists remain skeptical about this. First, cooking the placenta destroys hormones and other unique proteins that perhaps would be harnessed. Second, because if raw food, there is a great risk of infection that outweighs the benefits.
3 – Wedding Cake on Baby’s Forehead
Irish couples have a tradition of keeping a piece of the top of their wedding cake until their first child is baptized. They then serve the cake to the christening guests and sprinkle some crumbs on the child’s forehead to bless them with good luck. And what drink goes with cake at parties? Champagne!
Couples also keep a bottle to open at their child’s baptism and use a little of the drink to also wet the baby’s head with lifelong good wishes. To be more Irish than that, just wetting the child with whiskey!
4 – Chinese restrictions
It is well known worldwide that the Chinese are required to have only one child, except in some special cases. When a Chinese couple gets married and enters their new home, the husband must carry the bride, as tradition dictates in various parts of the world. However, in some Chinese regions, the man must also carry his new wife over red hot coals to ensure she can give birth smoothly.
But when a woman becomes pregnant, she traditionally faces a series of unusual and surprising prohibitions. She should not gossip or laugh too loudly. Also, the woman should not be angry or even have bad thoughts, nor look at shocking colors and should only eat light-colored foods.
Still, according to tradition, the pregnant woman should never sit on a crooked mat, otherwise, the child may be born deformed. She also needs to sleep with a knife under the bed for the sharp object to ward off evil spirits. On top of all this, the house where you live should not undergo any renovation during pregnancy, and sex is totally prohibited.
5 – Spit on the baby
The Wolof people of Mauritania and neighboring countries believe that human saliva can hold words, so they spit on newborns to add blessings that can “stick” to them. When a baby is born, women spit in his face, men spit in his ear, and then, to ensure “blessing,” adults rub saliva all over the child’s head.
The Igbo tribe in Nigeria goes a step further. When a baby is born, he is taken to the family elder’s house. There, a relative who is a good speaker chews some guinea pepper, spits on a finger, and puts it in the baby’s mouth. This act supposedly makes the child grow up and be as good a speaker as a spit donor.
6 – Baby Race
Most Westerners under the age of one spend their time resting and being spoiled by their parents, but some Lithuanian babies have a slightly different role to do. Every year Lithuania organizes a race to find the fastest “crawler” in the country.
The event is often marked by fun times when babies have absolutely no idea what to do and stop midway, for the simple and pure fact that they are just babies! The race is further supported by sponsors and usually attracts large crowds each year. Although it is a little different, we think it already existed in the program of Silvio Santos a few years ago, right?
7 – Childbirth in the “turn around” style
In some parts of Nigeria, pregnant women are expected to give birth alone. Midwives and helpers meet with the pregnant woman only after giving birth, but the woman is expected to go through the process without any help.
This custom has more to do with poverty and the low social position of women in that country than with independence. In many cases, families simply cannot ask for outside help, no matter how much the mother needs. Some humanitarian organizations are trying to solve part of the problem in these areas because, without help, many of these mothers lose their children or even their lives.
8 – Isolation in Pakistan
Mothers in the Kalash region of northern Pakistan also traditionally have their babies away from their families, but for a different reason: culture considers mothers in labor to be “dirty”. In this way, mothers give birth to their children in a special secluded place called Bashleni.
Tradition dictates that men should stay away from the “unclean” fluids of the woman who has just had her child so as not to become contaminated. Even other women who are likely to experience the same thing in the future, or have already experienced the same situation, do not want to be around. The only people who can come into the house to help the mother are women who are menstruating because they are also seen as unclean.