Mellow Mummy: Birth Rituals Around The Globe : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday 30 December 2010

Birth Rituals Around The Globe

At this time, when we celebrate the start of a new year and our festivities have their roots in the birth of a very special child, it seems fitting that Pampers and UNICEF have commissioned some research into the rituals and celebrations surrounding the birth of children the world over.

Did you know that in Zambia, a baby is asked what they want to be called? The elders offer the child a name, and if the child sleeps through the night, then they are considered to have accepted their new name, if they don't then a new name is offered until the baby sleeps peacefully through the night.

In Cambodia, the mother of a newborn is 'roasted' above a charcoal fire! The traditional ang ploeng ritual requires that the mother sleep in a bed about 1m from the ground above a fire and is believed to increase blood circulation to help the healing process, to make their skin more beautiful and to give them energy for the months to come.


The Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya try to compensate the mother for the pain of childhood through a number of rituals during a two-day celebration during which, only women may eat meat and only the mother and her child may open and close the gate to their settlement.

The Wolof people of Senegal require that the mother of a newborn child must perform the 'rite of jumping'; The mother must jump over a fire in four different directions before she may sit down after the birth, then the midwife will hold out the child three times and let the mother take the baby on the fourth time. The ritual is believed to prevent madness.

There really are some fascinating ways of celebrating birth, naming babies and offering thanks and many cultures approach pregnancy and birth in differing ways – it make the NHS hospital bed and intermittent health visitor appointments seem very mundane.

Pampers has been working with UNICEF, an organisation which helps traditions like these stay alive. If you would like to be a part of this great partnership then you can support the 1 pack=1 vaccine campaign where, for every pack of Pampers which is bought they will donate a vaccination against tetanus.
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