Good Luck for Babies

Satya’s sister is with us this week.  So far, having her over has been a lot of fun (perhaps too much fun as we were up until the early morning a few times).  She finally saw her niece for the the first time yesterday. 

She shared some ways that babies traditionally are protected from evil in India.  One way is for the parents to put a small mark on the baby’s face.  This can be done with eyeliner or something similar.  To me, this sounds like what I’ve heard about some Muslim art and carpets–people are afraid of something being perfect and offending God so they create a small imperfection to keep humility.  The difference I guess is that here you’d be protecting the baby from demons and not from God thinking you have too much hubris.  Any thoughts?

The second way is to put a small bracelet of black beads on the baby’s wrist.  I will have to ask about the importance of the color black.  Why not blue?  Or red?  Colors are important in bracelets…green bangles=wedding, for example.  (It is also interesting to me that a wife’s mangalsutra also has black beads).

My sister in law also mentioned ear piercing.  So far, the baby’s ears remain unpierced.  My sister in law thinks it is more practical to get it done early, rather than have it be a traumatic experience when my niece is a teenager.  Myself, my parents had me wait until I was 13.  At 13 I could decide for myself.  No matter how much I begged, they wouldn’t move that date (not for 12, not for 12.5).  I remember feeling thrilled when I got my ears pierced, not traumatized.

I doubt our niece will actually wear any of these things, though.  Satya’s brother (the father) is not religious or traditional at all.  My other sister in law, (the mother )is Protestant and not Indian.  It will be interesting to see what kinds of decisions they make about raising their inter racial daughter.

For now, my niece is doing well, is meticulously cared for, and is tremendously loved so we are all grateful.

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