Regardless of our home nation, all of us came into the world by birth. Since giving birth to a baby is a significant event in one’s life, humans have unique traditions and superstitions that date back thousands of years. These superstitions are closely related to newborn babies. In order to know more about birth superstitions from other countries, the Sookmyung Times met two exchange students, one from Indonesia and the other from China.
Divison of Child Welfare and Studies / Exchange Student
Diverse Birthing Myths from Diverse Ethnic Groups
Indonesia is a country comprised of diverse ethnic groups. Even though there are not much foreigners living in Indonesia, there are many different ethnic groups that follow differing beliefs. The beliefs influence the lifestyle of people and are related to myths about pregnancy and birth. “There are some typical birth myths that are notorious in Indonesia,” Roosita says with a big smile as she ponders the moment when a baby is born in her country. “In Indonesia, birth myths differ among people. Since we have numerous diverse ethnic groups, the way that people believe birth myths all differ. The two most famous myths relate to the process of how a mom and baby interact during the pregnancy and birth. If a baby is born with his or her placenta twinned, it is believed that the baby will be smart in the future. Also, if the mother poops during childbirth, the baby will grow to be healthy and smart.” Roosita also said that some ethnic groups in Indonesia bury the placenta in the front yard of their home if the baby is a boy and in the backyard if the baby is a girl because they believe that the baby will grow up without harm by burying the placenta in specific locations.
Wu Kaini (China)
Division of Korean Language and Literature / Exchange Student
Birth Myths Connected to the Mother
In China, there are many birth myths that are similar to Korean myths. Chinese, however, have more myths connected to the mother than the baby. Since the relationship between mother and the baby is always tight, they believe that caring for the mother is the first step in naturally protecting the baby and a healthy birth. Consequently, there are many traditions that the pregnant mother should believe and follow. Wu Kaini says that a mother should always take care of herself in every situation for the baby’s future: “When a mother is pregnant, it is important for her to care for her health at all times. In order to care for herself, there are some myths that most Chinese believe and follow. For example, pregnant women should never touch or move heavy things. Also, they should be careful when selecting food to eat. Most myths are actually based on reality since we now know that health is of utmost importance.” Wu Kaini also said most of the factually proven birth myths make many people to believe them.