Saturday, September 25, 2010

What an Ugly Baby

Russia is a land of many traditions and superstitions.  Living here we hear about different superstitions on a regular basis.  There are many, many superstitions about being pregnant and having a baby.  These are just a few of the superstitions we have been warned about or that friends have informed us about.

-Things bought for a newborn baby (such as clothes, toys, furniture, etc.) should only be purchased after the baby is born. To buy them before the baby's birth many believe is very bad counting your chickens before they are hatched.  Baby showers are unheard of.  People also don't really mention a pregnancy or give congratulations.  We did have a baby shower here in Moscow and many of our Russian friends came...they were very curious about it.  While talking to them about this tradition, many recognized the practicality of baby showers and had a lot of fun...but when I asked if they wanted one they said no...they don't want to tempt fate.

-Mothers typically do not show their baby to anyone except the father of that child and the midwife for 40 days after the baby is born.  There is some fear of germs and disease...but they also believe it is just bad luck.  Many mothers will not allow photographs of their baby's face until after the first 40 days.  One of our friend's sisters had a baby a few weeks ago...but she has not been allowed to see the baby up close, or see any pictures.  So she doesn't even know what her niece looks like.

-A stranger should not look at a newborn baby before it is a certain age (between two months and one year). If one looks at the baby it is considered bad luck to compliment it. Instead, one could say, "Oh, what an ugly child!".   Thankfully, many people do not still hold to this...Liam has not been called ugly yet!

-Russians also believe that babies are always cold and must be kept warm at all times.  You will see infants in snowsuits in warm weather...and when it gets can't even see the baby!  We get scolded on a regular basis for not putting a hat/gloves/boots or anything else someone thinks Liam might need on him.

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