The Joy Of Welcoming A Baby

in Cross Culture8 months ago

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Source Edited by me on Canva

A baby is a blessing from God, Welcoming a baby into this world is like welcoming God and his gift. There are many who long for a child for years and years. When that blessing comes it is time to thank God and celebrate His gift. Here, I will describe the traditions of an Indian catholic family.

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Source Edited by me on Canva

The Good News
An annoying thing about the Indian culture is that people start asking you if you have any good news from the time you get married till you declare the good news. While it is embarrassing for the couple in question, it is normal social talk for others. LOL I am not kidding, believe me.

The conformation of pregnancy is the start of celebrations, but in a quiet sort of way within the family. The family doesn't leak out the news until the first trimester is over. It is then believed that the unsafe period is over and the news can be spread among the near and the dear ones.

Uncles and aunts start visiting the woman and giving her gifts. Sweet smelling flowers are gifted to her and she is expected to wear them in her hair. The sweet natural fragrances are supposed to cheer the lady and keep her happy and smiling.

Gifts of Significance

Gifts of bangles, gold, silver and glass are presented to the woman by everyone who brings gifts depending on their financial ability. The tinkling noises of the bangles on the pregnant woman's wrists are the first rattles the baby hears. The mother's constantly moving hands are supposed to keep her and her unborn child cheerful. Glass bangles are special since they make a lot of cheerful noise.


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The Baby shower

In the seventh month of pregnancy there is a formal baby shower. The pregnant lady is gifted with silk sarees, ornaments of gold, loads of glass bangles and flowers. Jasmines and roses are the favorites for this celebration. Sometimes people go into the jungles to get a cactus flower which is so sweet smelling that it a single petal would fill the house with it sweet fragrance. These used to be sold in the flower markets in summer. I am not sure if these are still available in the market these days.

This is also the time when the woman is taken from the husbands home to her maternal home where she gives birth to her baby. The seventh month is chosen because it is safer for the woman to travel long distances and also to ensure proper prenatal care at home and with a gynecologist until the birth of the child.

The birth of the child is usually at the hospital so there is no fanfare. Guests are allowed to visit the mom and the baby after a few days to prevent stress and infections for the mother and child.


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Dedication and Baptism

The naming ceremony is done with a lot of fanfare. All relatives and friends are invited and (according to the catholic tradition I was brought up in) the baptism is given in the church. The name is usually chosen based on three considerations. The saint of the day on which the child was born, the name of (usually) the paternal grandfather if the baby is a boy or a paternal grandmother if the baby is a girl (most families insist on this) The last consideration is the desire of the parents, you read that right, parents come last.
I did not follow this tradition, I named my boys after great deliberation with my husband, we had been praying for months about naming our children and we chose their names even before they were born.

The main purpose of the celebration is thanksgiving and dedication of the child to God in front of the congregation. This is traditionally done on the fortieth day or the days around it. God parents are chosen based on their commitment to God. However, it is a tradition for paternal uncles or aunts to be chosen as the God parent for the first child. These people are expected to train the child or at least aid the parents in bringing up the child in a Godly way.

Festivities

This church ceremony is followed by a feast. The best of food and music is organized with party and games. Since we don't drink alcoholic beverages we don't serve them at these parties, but most families do. Each person/family brings gifts for the baby, these gifts usually take care of the dress, toiletries, toys and needs of the baby during the first 3-4 months.

Money is spent lavishly by the parents of the woman delivering the baby during this ceremony. They also gift the baby and the mother with gold ornaments during these festivities. It is a tradition to show how precious the baby is to the family and how they warmly welcome him/her into the family. Indian marriages and celebration are expensive affairs, parents gear up for these moments by saving money for these events from the time a daughter is born. I am serious.

While it looks lavish and happy some for some families it is a huge financial burden. Most often the medical insurance that companies (where the parents of the baby work) insist on takes care of the medical expenses. Yet, for the grandparents having to gift ornaments could get them into financial trouble.

This is how a child is welcomed into a Christian family in India. Some of these tradition come from the family's former religions (usually Hinduism), but most are altered to suit the Christian beliefs.

Thank you for reading and supporting my posts.
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First of all, I must commend your images... They are so beautiful and says a lot about all you just said.

Most families always tend to hide the good news about the pregnancy for some time, it's wise though.

The gifts aspect is so lovely, giving the mother to be bangles that make her cheerful... That will surely have a good effect on the child as well.

It's very possible for families to have financial problems after giving lavish celebration for a child and even in marriage ceremonies... This is why it's wise to make good budgets just to avoid such problem.

Your entry is beautiful sofs, all the best in the contest 😊

Thank you @merit.ahama.
Glad you like the images.
While the whole significance of the events surround the arrival of a baby is lovely it could be a bit taxing too.
Yeah the down side of all this is some people are forced to do all these things even if they are not financially stable.
Indian wedding are big too, the guest list can run into thousands at times.
I appreciate your stopping by.

I know very much of how Indian weddings are... So much extravagance and bright colors, I'm sure lots of money was spent.

I still kinda think that's a unique thing about Indian celebrations.

Its a lot of fun, weddings used to last for a week.. now its three days .
Expensive but fun for everyone.

A week, thank goodness it had changed... That would have been very expensive to plan for.

Thank you for the tag :) Those are wonderful traditions, but I think in some cases expensive ornaments could be replaced with a family heirloom, or even a thoughtful but homemade present such as woodwork or quilting? A beautiful handmade chair or quilt could mean just as much.

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Yeah the traditional significance is lovely, but it does have a down side to it.
However, with med insurance most people get through all this fine.
Those other gifts come as a part of these main gifts.
Some people are sensible enough to just stop with bangles and flowers.
But families most insist on following all traditions.

The ornaments don't have to be expensive. They could be beautiful but not made of gold, silver, etc.

Those are traditions lol.. Indian buy truck loads of gold.. like even poor people.

Gold is a good investment, but only if you plan to use it that way. It won't do much if you are going to be keeping it and suffering.

!PIZZA

Thats a wunderful posting I love it, very well done. Too little time for me to write something, would have been an interestic topic. Thank you vor inviting me,
Didnt know hive cross culture by now, but for sure will follow and look out for further contests.

I know.. I was putting off writing this post for far too long as I have been kind of busy.
Now that you know the @hive crossculture community please join the community and look out for their challenges.

Hi, yes I already joined :-)

Wonderful, hope to read your posts there.

Beautiful..
So many things to say..
But its all that your tradition is beautiful.
However, that part where the parents choice of name is the last consideration..lol. Good you prayer about it to choose a name for your baby.

Yeah, a lot of traditions have be Christianized because you can't really separate a people from their tradition, I am Igbo tho grew up in a Yoruba (another culture in Nigeria), and I have seen how both cultures have adjusted and fitted with Christianity.

It is beautiful how religion changes culture and blends with it. I had written a post much earlier about that.
Thank @jaydr for the visit and your feedback.

I ll look it up,
Or could you share the link?

Must be hiding deep down somewhere.I'll check and post it when I am done catching up.

Lol.
You sound really funny.
I ll try help digging too.

I've been busy over the weekend.. and haven't responded to comments and posts as such.. so I am trying to catch up or the rest of the week will find me still trying to catch up.
I hope you can find it.. 😂

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I wanted too take that to number 20 and missed a day this week already.
Maybe next week

I thought you were welcoming a grandchild hahaha
Yes, can relate to this
And was thinking after the first one pops up, then they question you about the second one - aiyoh! hehe

LOL that remains a dream.
oh yeah darn the questions never stop until the second..
thankfully people never ask about the third these days. 😆🤣

Wow, An interesting content. I love the way you started from before the baby is born to when the baby is born and thereafter.

I don’t know much about birth festivals but, I kinda recognize taking the baby to couch on the 40th day for thanksgiving. My elder sister did that after her birth.

I didn’t know indian weddings were that expensive but in general, I know weddings are very expensive… So in India, the parents of the lady do most of the expenses?

Thank you for your kind words.
Yes, the girl's family need to bear all the expenses of the wedding to childbirth in most communities.
Very rarely do the families agree on splitting the expenses.
Yeah these are huge expensive affairs which could send some families reeling into debts
Leading to girls being considered a burden in India and female foeticide being common.
The government has declared the revealing of the sex of the fetus illegal to curtail such behavior.
It is one vicious cycle.

There is so much to be said of traditions. I was brought up with these same values with bringing a child into this world.

It is sometimes difficult to follow, as my family had nine children, but, I like the intended reasons.

Traditions have meanings but some get out dated we need to follow only the ones that are still relevant.
Traditions which become a problem and a nuisance need to be abandoned.
Thanks for stopping by @dswigle

Absolutely! There are some traditions that are family driven and most of those I follow, of course it would be different if it was a hardship to follow. Having 500 or 600 people at my wedding would have been a hardship and so there wasn't. It was my choice and I just didn't see the meaning of it. I agree with you Traditions are wonderful but there is a point where some of them have to be given up.

Glad you see it that way. it is like scarificing your freedom when you have to do something aganist your reason.