Whatever Wednesday~ OLD WIVES TALES AND BABY TRADITIONS AND BELIEFS IN SERBIA

Old wives tales and Baby Traditions and beliefs in Serbia

Reposted from my old blog Chronicles of Serbia at Blogspot with a few added comments.

While living in Serbia, I have found that many ideas are reminders of the past, the region you live in, and the fact that “old wives tales” are strongly followed world-wide.In the US we ” knock on wood” to ward off a bad thing from happening when mentioned it, or throw a pinch of salt over our left shoulder if a bit is spilled. Here are some of the traditions followed by some Serbians to keep their babies safe from the “evil eye” or the like.

All of these were told to me, by my native Serbian friends, feel free to correct anything that my be different in your region. I love to hear variations!

red string is tied around the babies wrist to ward off sickness as well as at least one item of inside out clothing, usually underwear.

Babies are kept inside for a little while because too many people looking cause them to get sick. This idea is not only for babies, but infants seem to be the most vulnerable.

I have been the victim of this kind of thought as well. I got sick after a wedding and my mother in law and her friend wanted to make sure I wasn’t under the influence of the evil eye. They thought too many people were looking at me because I was an American. They were inclined to put a hot coal straight out of the fire in a cup of water and touch  my forehead with the water. My husband put a stop to this when I started freaking out. We had a good time calling his mom a “witch doctor” for a few weeks after that.

Epidurals are thought to be dangerous, and not good for labor. I assure people I talk with that is not true. I have had two. One for a knee surgery and one for the delivery of my little girl. I could still tell when to push. Millions of babies are delivered this way. It is completely safe.

Things believed to help you have healthier babies: 
Sitting on the ground, or walking barefoot could ruin your eggs so these things should be avoided. I am guilty of both of these things, I love to walk barefoot, inside and out. and my mother in law has a fit! She loves me and want the best for us, and I love her for it. It is a nuisance sometimes though. I don’t want to wear shoes or papuche (slippers) all the time. And at the ripe old age of 40, after years of not following these rules I was blessed with a healthy baby girl.

It is also believed that babies should not be sat up before they are 6 months old. They think it can ruin the hips, but here it is encouraged. Babies all over Yugoslavia are subject to wearing hip braces for a while to keep their hips from developing problems. When I tell my Serbian friends that we always sit our babies up, from birth, many of my friends were shocked.

While our munchkin was under six months old, thank God we were in America. But friends who saw her on skype were shocked she wasn’t kept laying flat. I explained it isn’t good for a child to stay laying flat. No babies in the U.S. or most other countries follow that tradition, and they are just fine.The funniest thing I have heard was after a Slava. I was sitting in the kitchen with my two best Serbian girlfriends. We were comparing this kinds of stories. All of us burst into uncontrollable laughter when one of them told  us how a distant Baba from her husband’s side of the family had asked here what sexual position they had used to produce their new baby boy. I think I have heard that idea here in the US a long time ago. I do not believe this is a Uniquely Serbian idea, just another old wives tale.

I was startled by many of the beliefs, but enjoy learning about them. it is really fascinating. Not long ago I watched a movie call “Babies”. Watch the Trailer here. This is more of a documentary movie that follows 4 babies for one year world-wide.  The babies are from Japan, Mongolia, San Francisco, USA, and Africa. It was interesting to see what is acceptable world-wide and refreshing to see how resilient babies are. Ironically, the scariest thing I saw was in San Francisco.

I would love to hear from you on this subject. It is fascinating to me! Well pretty much all customs and beliefs world-wide are. It is the Social Scientist in me.

Happy Birthday Munchkin

this was just the tip of the iceberg!

This is a continuation of the Blog Yesterday that began the epic story of the Birthday party.

No babies drank any alcohol in the making of this photo

There was a ton of food to be had. The men wasted no time beginning to partake. The girls took their time but eventually caved. Thank God, because I wanted to eat and didn’t want to look like the pig I am. No time for that anyway. Little Munchkin duties call way to often for  a real binge to take place.

I can’t get over how cute these little piglet breads are!

I finally made a Ginger Bread Train for the Munchkin to enjoy looking at. She hasn’t got enough teeth yet to munch on the candy. Thank you, Nicole for sending it! It was a hit. Not something you see here in Serbia! Great gift!

The Ginger Bread Train

Just as I was about to snap the picture, the Munchkin reached for the train. She’s a quick one!

The traditional Birthday song was sang with a lit candle. I don’t know it yet, but give me time. Here is a link to the song on youtube.

The party moved from the kitchen to the living room and then to our bedroom. I missed the photo-op, but at one point a bunch of kids were jumping on our bed. I would call the party a success since the kids felt so at home.

The Big Cousin fishing of the bed with a jump rope and Munchkin looking for the fish.

I think everyone had a great time. I am super glad it is over, now I can sit back and relax a bit. Though today is the actual BDay, so I will light the candle again on top of a cupcake and sing Happy Birthday in English this time. And skype with family at home. 🙂

Tomorrow the festivities will be concluded with the last birthday hurrah. We will go to the village for a small family celebration. There is still that roasted piglet Papa wanted to bring to the party that needs to be eaten. I am not a fan, but it will be a good opportunity to get some fun cultural pics! The Munchkin’s first roasted pig will be about the same size as her! LOL

I can’t believe one year ago today I was in the hospital “enjoying” the effects of an epidural as I pushed the Munchkin out. If you are interested in that story you can click on the link below. The U.S. experience is far different from the Serbian one. And for those of you who think you cannot feel the contractions during an epidural, I could. I just didn’t have pain. No brainer there! Thank you Epidural! Hello Munchkin. 🙂 There are no gory pics. and I think it is a rather tame account if you are wondering.

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2012/03/millies-labor-and-birth.html

If you are curious what it is like to stay in a Hospital in the U.S. you can check out my blog post about that here:

http://lafemmet.blogspot.com/2012/03/american-hospital-stay.html

Thanks for stopping by.

Dobar Dan