The imminent birth of a child is a happy event
that is worth celebrating. Many cultures around the world mark the occasion
with a unique ritual that brings family and friends together to ‘shower’ the
mum-to-be with gifts.
Not all cultures celebrate a baby shower in quiet
the same way. In some countries, like the UK, that have recently adopted the mother
and baby honouring custom, it’s acceptable to incorporate different aspects of
traditions from around the world.
If you’d like to organise a baby shower for a
close friend or relative, you can take inspiration from the rules and etiquette
of international baby shower rituals and create your own unique experience for
mum-to-be. You’ll need to plan a baby shower party – that features refreshments
and entertainment – and to send out invitations. Don’t forget that it’s good
manners to send baby thank you cards to every guest after the party, to show
gratitude for their company and gifts.
To inspire you further, read on to discover how
the baby shower tradition is celebrated around the globe…
In Afghanistan, the birth of a baby isn’t
officially celebrated with a baby shower until the 6th night after
the infant is born. Family and friends come together to celebrate the event
over the sharing of a feast. As the guests already know the gender of the
newborn, they traditionally bring gifts of items that the baby needs, like
clothing, baby supplies and toys.
Families in China plan and organise a formal
baby shower that is hosted after the birth of the baby. It’s considered unlucky
to celebrate before the mother gives birth. Guests are invited to a large
banquet dinner, and traditionally bring gifts of money, for the baby and
parents, in ‘lucky’ red envelopes.
Parents in the Dominican Republic like to throw
a surprise baby shower party for the expectant parents. Both women and men are
invited to attend the lavish occasion. Before gifts are presented to the
mum-to-be, it’s customary to play a variety of fun party games.
The baby shower tradition isn’t formally
celebrated in France until the infant’s first birthday, when family and friends
get together to make a great deal of fuss. Baby’s 1st birthday is a
lavish affair with women and men in attendance, and gifts galore for the
birthday boy or girl and the child’s mother.
In India, it’s a traditional Hindu custom to
celebrate the imminent birth of a child during the 7th month of
pregnancy. The celebration is known as Godh Bharai, which translates as ‘fill
the lap’, and involves showering mum-to-be with blessings of abundance, support
and gifts. The expectant mother is dressed up in a beautiful flower covered
saree, and is anointed with special oils. During the women-only event, family
members and friends gather together to dance and sing, and to play games. A lot
of attention is bestowed on the mum-to-be, and she is adorned with colourful
jewellery as her lap is filled up with fruits, sweets and other gifts.
In Latin America, a baby shower is an occasion that
brings the entire family together, including men and children. There’s music, dancing
and entertainment, party games that go on for hours, a feast of delicious
treats, and plenty of affectionate hugging. The kissing and touching of the
expectant mum’s belly is also a common custom.
South Africans enjoy celebrating the imminent
arrival of a new baby with a ‘stork party’. The event is often arranged as a
surprise for the expectant mum, and includes party games, food and drink and
the giving of gifts to the baby and mum.
In Tibet, it’s traditional to honour the birth
of a child with a celebration that is known as pang-sai, which translates as ‘the
cleansing of the baby’. The event is held during the first week after the birth
of the newborn and lasts for the entire week. Family and friends bring gifts of
clothes for the infant, and food that represents wishes for an abundant life. Some
guests give the gift of brightly coloured scarves that symbolise good wishes
for the parents. It’s also common for the parents to receive a visit from a
monk from the local monastery, as this is associated with the gift of wisdom
for the child. On the final day of pang-sai, the most respected person in
attendance is given the honour of naming the child during a special naming
The United States
Many people consider a baby shower to be a
custom that originated in the USA. Although the country can’t officially claim
the baby honouring practice as its creation, some cultures around the world
have accepted many of the elements that make up an American-style baby shower
as their own. Once a women-only afternoon event, the baby shower has evolved
over the years in the United States and now welcomes women and men at the party
that is held in the morning, afternoon or evening. The baby shower is traditionally
planned and hosted by a family member or close friend and arranged in honour of
the mum-to-be. Invitations are sent out to guests, along with baby thank you
cards after the event. The celebration includes party games, refreshments and
the showering of gifts for mother and baby. Many expectant mums choose to
reveal the gender of their unborn baby to everyone, during the baby shower