Strange Pregnancy Traditions and Beliefs

27 June 2010

pregnancy3This week myself, Tamsin and Lynley were in London for an event and one of the ladies we met was 6 months pregnant. Her bump was lovely and neat and tidy and all out the front, which according to old wives tales means she's having a boy (do only old wives tell these tales...? What if you're a young wife...? I digress...).

We all took turns in guessing the gender of this unborn child and it got me thinking about all the strange tales and traditions that go hand-in-hand with pregnancy.

So after a quick scoot around the Internet (actually it's taken a while, I got rather engrossed in it all) here are some of the more bizarre from around the world that you might find interesting...

vegetable01In Portugal it's believed that eating certain fruits and vegetables will influence whether you have a boy or a girl - if you want a girl you should eat round fruit and veg', and if you want a boy you should eat long-shaped varieties .

The Portugese also belief that dogs and cats should be kept away from pregnant women otherwise the baby could end up being born excessively hairy, and in Mongolia pregnant women shouldn't touch each other when they meet as it's believed that doing so will change the sex of the babies.

Whilst all the traditions, superstitions and old wives tales from around the globe are different, everyone wants and hopes for a trouble-free pregnancy and an easy birth but some of the ways to encourage this are downright bizarre.

My particular favourite comes from Russia - if the husband and wife tell each other the names of all their previous lovers then the birth will be an easy one.  HA! I'm sure there are some people who'd rather go for the difficult option than spill the beans on that one.

In most of the world women hope for beautiful weather and sunshine on their wedding days, not so in Malta! Here women pray for rain on their wedding day as this is said to be a predictor for an easy birth later on.

In Japan, to prevent birthmarks on babies pregnant mothers shouldn't look at fire and eating raw fish is forbidden.  Up past Scotland on Orkney it used to be believed that boys should be baptised before girls, a girl baptised before a boy would grow a beard - now that's just odd!

CoalsIn China for a pregnancy to be successful, the husband is supposed to carry his wife over burning coals when entering the house. Now, I couldn't find when this was supposed to happen - whether just once at the very beginning of the pregnancy or for the whole duration! But the thought of all these Chinese husbands creating beds of burning coals and carrying his pregnant wife in and out of the house for nine months amuses me greatly!

There are so many different beliefs and whilst it's possible to see where the origins of some of them are, most are just downright bizarre!

Drop us a line if you have and strange pregnancy tradition stories you'd like to share with us here at PlayPennies.

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