A wonderful way to celebrate the imminent appearance of a new arrival, baby showers are the perfect chance to give the new mum-to-be gifts and souvenirs that she can both use and keep.
But although baby showers are celebrated around the world, there are some very significant differences in the traditions in different cultures.
We take a look at some of the differences in baby shower traditions from around the world.
The baby shower traditions that many countries in the west follow, in the US and Canada, the celebrations typically take place around the 8th month of pregnancy.
Attended by family members, friends and co-workers, it’s an all-female affair and gifts are given to the mother for herself and the baby.
The baby shower can be quite a riotous affair with special food and baby-themed games for all to enjoy.
Although baby showers are very popular, in Chinese culture holding them prior to the birth is considered to be very unlucky.
They are therefore not held until after the baby is born, typically on either the first or second full moon.
Baby showers are a more formal affair in China, traditionally being held as a dinner banquet with guests passing over money in red envelopes (a colour associated with good fortune) to symbolise the passing on of good luck to the new baby and the parents.
Tibet is another country where the baby shower does not take place until after the birth.
Known locally as pang-sai – the ‘cleansing of the baby’ – the celebration is held three to four days after the birth, and well-wishers give gifts of clothes and food. The gifts, whilst practical, are also symbols of wishes for an abundant life.
During the celebration, the most respected person will have the honour of naming the new-born.
In France, a baby shower is an extremely belated affair, not occurring until the 1st birthday of the child.
When the shower does eventually take place, both the mother and the baby receive gifts from all participants.
The French version of the baby shower is also markedly different as rather than being an all-female affair as is traditional elsewhere, members of both sexes are welcomed to celebrate the arrival as a family.
The baby shower takes place prior to the birth, similar to the US, but unlike in other cultures where the expectant mum places a part in the preparations, the party is kept entirely secret.
In South Africa, although baby showers are relatively casual, they are held as a surprise for the mum-to-be, typically when she is around 6 months pregnant.
The celebrations are informal other than the cake, which is a very important and plays a central role. Local South African bakeries often advertise specially designed baby shower cakes for friends and family to purchase.
In Korea, it’s not really considered as a baby shower but their closest celebrations are known as ‘doi’ and take place when the child is one year old. During the doi, the baby is dressed in traditional clothing including a silk pouch to symbolise luck and a colourful belt to represent longevity
In addition to the doi, some Korean parents also celebrate another landmark. In the past, the infancy mortality rate was extremely high in Korea and many babies didn’t survive beyond 100 days. To celebrate their infant reaching this milestone age, many Korean families hold a 100 day celebration out of respect to the historically significant landmark.
Most people are familiar with the traditions of a baby shower, but the above information shows that they aren’t celebrated in the same way all around the world. From delaying the baby shower for 12 months to bestowing the honour of naming your child upon the most esteemed guest, there are many different customs observed in nations all over the globe.
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