“Bachhe bhagwaan ki daen hote hai.”
And when these daens come into the world, parents welcome them with open arms. But some couples in certain countries go a little further than just opening their arms. They do things you would never imagine. Here’s a list of 15 weird baby customs from around the world that will make you go WTF.
1. In Sweden, babies are left to sleep outside in sub-zero temperatures.
It is believed that leaving babies to brave the cold will make them resistant to cough and cold (if they don’t die from hypothermia, that is). This is Sparta… er… Sweden!
2. In India, babies are bathed with boiling milk to please the gods.
This inhuman tradition called Karaha Pujan , involves bathing the infant with boiling milk. Last heard, this tradition was banned and babies were happily sucking milk rather than being bathed with it. Thank you, God!
3. In Bali, babies are not allowed to touch the ground for three months.
The Balinese believe that to keep the baby sacred, it is important to keep it off the ground for three months. During this time, the baby is carried around by its dad, mom, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, milkman… basically anyone with hands. Touch down happens only after 105 days.
4. In Japan, the umbilical cord of the baby is preserved.
Apparently, some mommy went berserk with happiness after giving birth, so much so that she preserved the umbilical cord attached to her kid in a box. Other ladies followed suit and since then the Japanese have been storing their cords in boxes.
5. In Guatemala, babies are bathed with cold water.
It is believed that bathing babies with cold water keeps them fighting fit and helps them sleep better. Why this kolaveri di?
6. In Japan, babies are made to cry.
Babies are handed over to sumo wrestlers who force them to cry. It is believed that this tradition wards off evil spirits and makes the babies healthy. The louder the cries, the better for the kid. Ouch!
7. In China, newborns are sexually stimulated.
Those who practice this strange tradition belong to the Manchu community. Apparently, the parents of these newborns don’t consider this ritual to be sexual at all. It’s just their way of showing affection. While the girls receive some genital tickling, the boys enjoy fellatio by their mothers. I really don’t know what to say.
8. In Spain, a man jumps over infants.
This man symbolizes the devil and it is believed that by jumping over the babies, he is warding off evil spirits. So much for their well being.
9. In Ireland, babies are smeared with cake.
Irish couples smear the forehead of their new born baby with cake saved from their wedding. That means the cake must be at least 9 months old (or lesser if the woman was carrying before her wedding). Just saying.
10. In India, babies are thrown from temple roofs.
Now this one clearly takes the cake. Babies are dropped from temple roofs as high as 50 feet onto a sheet of cloth. Once the baby lands, it is then passed through the crowd to its parents. No baby has been injured, nor lost in the crowd. Phew!
11. In Bulgaria, people pretend to spit on babies.
And then say “may chickens poop on you.” This is done to deceive the “Evil Eye” that tends to take away all things that are admired by people.
12. In Mauritania, babies are spit on, quite literally!
The women of the Wolof tribe spit on the face of their offspring while the men spit in the ears. Later, saliva is rubbed all over the head to protect the child from evil. I must say, the Wolofs must be producing a lot of saliva.
13. In Finland, babies are made to sleep in cardboard boxes.
As part of a 75-year-old tradition, in Finland, a baby’s first bed is a cardboard box. The box is presented to the mother and is stocked with baby essentials. Surprisingly the box also has condoms. Condoms? Why?
14. In Pakistan, the baby’s hair is shaved off.
Once the baby is seven days old, its hair is shaved off. Wealthy families weigh the hair and donate gold or silver equal to the weight of the hair to the poor.
15. In Armenia, babies are made to foretell their careers.
The Armenians seem to be the most impatient parents in the world. On appearance of the baby’s first tooth, they surround the baby with objects. What the baby selects from these objects decides its future. A book means a scholar, money means a banker and so on. Now that’s what you call a cute baby ritual.