Babies are celebrated (pre- or post-birth) in all sorts of beautiful and fascinating ways around the world. Here are just a few of the baby shower and welcoming traditions in Canada and abroad — we hope they'll remind you of what a shared blessing newborns are for the whole community. Perhaps they'll even inspire you to plan your next shower!
In the Hindu tradition, a godh bhari (lap filling) ceremony is held in the seventh month of pregnancy. Well-wishers individually greet the pregnant mom and fill a bowl in her lap with symbols of fertility and prosperity: dried fruits, nuts and coconuts. The tradition is meant to bestow blessings as well as to satisfy a pregnant mother’s growing appetite, explains Swati Saxena Jain, a new mom based in Guelph, Ontario.
“Stork parties,” as baby showers are called, are often surprises. Sheila Yabo’s colleagues planned a sneaky office party for her and another pregnant co-worker. “I asked ‘Where is everyone going?’ and they said ‘meetings’ and I’m like, ‘What meetings?’” she laughs. Yabo’s shower included gifts and games, including one where each guest cut a piece of yarn in estimation of the women’s belly girth.Photo: subman/iStockphoto
Chinese families see it as taboo to have a baby shower before the birth, says Tulip Man, a Toronto-born mom of Chinese heritage who now lives in Hong Kong. Indeed, given the poor availability of maternal health services up until recently and even still in many developing countries, numerous cultures wait to celebrate babies until after they’re born.
In China, baby-welcoming parties are held on the evening of the first (or, increasingly, second) full moon after the baby’s birth. Several-course dinners are served, and friends and family bring money in red envelopes to pass on good luck to the parents.
Aboriginal families in Canada rarely have showers before the birth but often hold a “naming ceremony” for newborns and a “walking out ceremony” when the child is beginning to walk, says Jennifer Johnson, a Toronto-based midwife and mom of Cree-Métis heritage. Often, guests bring gifts that the child can use later in life. “If you want the baby to be a really good writer, for example, you would bring writing material,” says Johnson.Photo: Mona Makela/iStockphoto
Like in the Hindu tradition, dry some fruit, make some nut squares, indulge in rich foods. It’s for the baby, right?
Like in the South African tradition, think of mom, too! She won’t likely have time for the spa, so at-home relaxation products are a nice little treat.
Have fun with food dye to brighten up the baby shower spread, keeping in mind that in Chinese tradition, white is equated with misfortune and red with good luck.
Struggling with whether the newborn needs another sleeper or bib? Why not think like the Aboriginal tradition and give a meaningful gift the child will cherish later in life?
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