Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

In pictures: How different cultures celebrate arrival of babies

The picture gallery has been released by charity WaterAid as part of their Water Effect campaign.

Five-week-old Emma is given a coin by her nana, Sandra, a custom meant to bring good luck and prosperity in Scotland (WaterAid/Paul Watt/PA)
Five-week-old Emma is given a coin by her nana, Sandra, a custom meant to bring good luck and prosperity in Scotland (WaterAid/Paul Watt/PA)

A new collection of images from around the world demonstrates different cultural traditions for welcoming babies and protecting new mothers.

Rituals such as post-partum porridge and baptisms are used to celebrate new life in different corners of the globe.

bpanews_1e1665fa-7e5a-423b-aca3-b63d57970e28_embedded1900259
Embargoed to 0001 Friday February 22Undated handout photo issued by WaterAid of Natsumi, 29, feeding her daughter Miwa, four weeks old, during Okuizome, a first food ceremony that takes place in Japan. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 22, 2019. The new collection of images demonstrates different cultural traditions for welcoming babies and protecting new mothers from around the world. See PA story HEALTH Babies. Photo credit should read: WaterAid/Kodai/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

In Japan, parents celebrate Okuizome, a first food ceremony.

bpanews_1e1665fa-7e5a-423b-aca3-b63d57970e28_embedded1900260
Lucia, 26, mother to newborn baby Bertha, eating a special porridge made from soya, maize flour and sugar which is given to mums after childbirth in Malawi (WaterAid/Jenny Lewis/PA)

In Malawi, new mothers are given a porridge made of soya, maize flour and sugar as it is thought to give them energy and nutrients.

bpanews_1e1665fa-7e5a-423b-aca3-b63d57970e28_embedded1900261
Undated handout photo issued by WaterAid of Nagit, 30, (centre) husband Lomer, 32, (centre left) and baby Bakita sitting with their five children after the blessing of their newborn. As part of this Ugandan ceremony the skin of the Etopojjo tree is soaked in water, forming small strings. These strings are then tied around the baby’s wrist, ankles, neck and waist. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 22, 2019. The new collection of images demonstrates different cultural traditions for welcoming babies and protecting new mothers from around the world. See PA story HEALTH Babies. Photo credit should read: WaterAid/James Kiyimba/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

In Uganda, beer and dancing are used to celebrate a new arrival, as well as the skin of the Etopojjo tree being formed into small strings tied around the baby’s wrist, ankles, neck and waist.

bpanews_1e1665fa-7e5a-423b-aca3-b63d57970e28_embedded1900251
Nome, 21, wearing a ‘masonjoany’ mask to protect herself from the sun and bad spirits in Madagascar (WaterAid/PA)

In Madagascar, mothers wear a masonjoany mask – made by grinding a sandalwood tree branch with water to form a paste – to protect themselves from bad spirits.

Nome, 21, wore the mask as part of the Manaboaka Jabely tradition after giving birth.

She said: “In our culture, mothers like me and our newborn babies are not allowed to go outside during the first seven days after the birth.

“Once we have made it through these sacred, critical seven days, we step outside for a short time to face the reality of life and the bright sun.”

bpanews_1e1665fa-7e5a-423b-aca3-b63d57970e28_embedded1900248

Black eye kohl is applied to children in India to ward off evil spirits.

Rinku, 22, from Delhi, said: “The tradition of applying kohl or ‘kajal’ to the infant’s eyes and forehead began long ago and has been taught to each generation by the elders.

“The black kajal protects the child from any evil spirits and keeps them healthy.”

bpanews_1e1665fa-7e5a-423b-aca3-b63d57970e28_embedded1900252
Undated handout photo issued by WaterAid of four month old Emmeline having holy water poured over her head at the Roman Catholic Holy Family Church in New Jersey, in the belief it will absolve them of original sin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 22, 2019. The new collection of images demonstrates different cultural traditions for welcoming babies and protecting new mothers from around the world. See PA story HEALTH Babies. Photo credit should read: WaterAid/Jill Costantino/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

In Catholic families, holy water is poured over a baby’s head, in the belief it will absolve them of original sin.

In Scotland, newborn babies – like five-week-old Emma who was photographed by Paul Watt for WaterAid – are given coins in a custom meant to bring prosperity.

The picture gallery has been released by charity WaterAid as part of their Water Effect campaign, which aims to help mothers and new babies ensure they have the best start by providing clean water and good sanitation in health centres.

Tim Wainwright, chief executive of WaterAid, said: “It’s unacceptable that in the developing world one in three health centres do not have clean water.

“This means doctors and midwives cannot protect their patients from the risk of infection, and the consequences can be fatal.

“That’s why we’re putting clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at the heart of healthcare, helping save lives every day.”

Press Association

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph