Love | Keep | Treasure
22 March, 2017
Pregnancy and motherhood are thought of as special and sacred in a multitude of cultures, not just our own. The magical nine-month period while a woman is pregnant is a time of celebration – but there are a huge number of ways in which different countries and cultures celebrate at this time, as well as a variety of customs and beliefs that shape a woman’s pregnancy in different ways.
Let’s take a look at some special pregnancy traditions and beliefs from around the world.
In Mexico, pregnant women are encouraged to bathe only in water that is warm. If it’s too hot, it’s said to lead to circulatory problems, and if it’s too cold, it’s thought to make the pelvis rigid and make the process of labour harder. Cravings are also taken very seriously in Mexico – many believe that eating food that you crave is necessary to create a healthy baby. Indulge those cravings.
Would you believe it – giving a mother-to-be a gift before their baby is born is thought to be unlucky in Chinese culture. That means no baby showers or extravagant presents during pregnancy. The child’s maternal grandmother is also traditionally responsible for buying most of the little one’s clothes.
They send one piece of clothing as a gift a month before the baby’s due date – this is thought to hasten the delivery and make labour easier for the mother. In China, it’s also thought that the way a mother acts while pregnant will directly influence her child’s personality and disposition.This means no arguing, gossiping or physical effort while in labour. The physical labour we can do without – but those pregnancy hormones would make it tough to avoid arguments we think.
Greek families and communities are very close, and a new baby is an event for the whole neighbourhood! Friends, family members and locals will also try to ward off the ‘evil eye’ by sending gifts of silver and gold coins, as well as special stones.
Turkey is another country which doesn’t believe in holding baby showers. In fact, there’s no celebration of any kind until the baby has been safely received into the world. The mother and baby traditionally stay at home for up to 20 days after the birth, welcoming friends, family members and well-wishers, who drink a celebratory beverage called ‘lohusa serbeti’ (made with water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and a red food colouring).
Women generally give birth at home in many parts of India, and they are encouraged to create a sense of ‘openness’ in the home. This is said to make the labour process easier and less painful. As part of this, they must leave all the doors in their house open, removing any jewellery and taking their hair down while in labour.
Do you have any interesting pregnancy customs or traditions in your family? We would love to hear about them.
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