Parenting Traditions Around The World

For anyone who’s grown up in western culture, parenting methods and traditions are pretty universal, with fairly negligible differences existing from country to country in Europe and North America. While all parents have little nuances regarding the way they raise their children, there are certain parenting traditions from around the world that may seem pretty alien to a lot of us. Here are a few fascinating parenting traditions from around the world…


Credit: Pixabay

In the Indonesian island of Bali, a long-standing cultural tradition means that parents will keep their babies from touching the ground until they’re three months old. Why three months came to be the specific period is unclear, but in Bali, it’s believed that a baby’s purity can be defiled through contact with the ground. When the baby reaches three months of age, the whole family gathers together for a ceremony where the baby is lowered to set foot on the ground for the first time. They may not be retaining memory, but they must feel a little like Neil Armstrong when the big day comes around!


India is an incredibly diverse country; a mesh of unique cultures stemming from peoples and religions from all over the world. In recent years, a westernized version of Mother’s Day complete with traditional Mother's Day Hampers has been celebrated on the second Sunday of May. However, a more traditional Hindu festival, Durga Purja, happens in October, dedicated to Durga, the ‘divine mother’ goddess. Celebrations vary from place to place, but all of them are marked by feasts and gatherings, and gifts exchanged between family members, particularly ones for mom!


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It’s a long-running tradition in Ireland, particularly among Catholic families, for newlywed couples to save the top of their wedding cake for the christening of their first child. The cake is served to guests at the ceremony, and a pinch of the crumbs are sprinkled over the child’s forehead as a blessing of luck. Some couples even save some of their wedding champagne and sprinkle some of it on the baby’s head for an extra little bit of good luck.

The Eastern Cape

In the eastern cape of Africa, many indigenous peoples practice a ritual known as Sifudu on the third day of the child’s life. The name translates roughly as “passing a child through smoke”. A small fire is made using leaves from the Sifudu tree, creating a thin column of smoke which has a pungent, irritating smell. The mother then holds the baby upside down and passes its head briefly through the smoke. Though this may sound shockingly cruel and unhealthy to many westerners, the idea of the ritual is assuring that the baby will grow up to be brave and forthcoming for the rest of its life.


Credit: Max Pixel

Many Vietnamese families potty-train their babies using a whistle, and it’s common for them to get the job done by the time the child is nine months old. If western parents were able to do this, they’d save a small fortune by not needing almost a year’s worth of diapers!

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