The birth of a new baby is always a joyous event in any culture, and that is no different in ours (Palestinian Muslim culture).
Last month my family and I celebrated the birth of my nephew Ali! My sister gave birth on May 3rd and him being the first ever grandchild he brought so much joy and happiness to our family!
Watching my parents’ smile when holding him was precious! For a moment they could not believe they have grown so old!
Moreover, seeing my sister become a mom was amazing and strange at the same time! It felt like not only her but all of us are all learning how to deal with this little tiny creature that has blessed out lives!
That being said, to welcome the new baby, there are some lovely traditions (some religious, some are not) that all the family take part in!
let me clarify something, these traditions are not about buying the baby’s room, the gifts or the other stuff he might need. They are different ones that celebrate the mother and the child together.
I’m excited to share some of what we did with you!
Decorating the living room (optional)
Before my sister arrived from the hospital we needed to do something to cheer her up (because she had a very long difficult labor), and show how thrilled we are to have her and the baby safe and sound. Thus, we decorated the house with blue and white balloons (given the fact that the baby is a boy). It was fun to surprise her with the decorations! They fit her small living room perfectly!
Preparing small gifts for guests! (optional)
When guests come to visit to congratulate the new mom, they get a small gift. The gift does not have to be expensive at all! It’s only meant to say “thank you” for their visit! My sister chose a can opener and key chain that looked like a small jacket (LOL)! We put them in a small blue box with some chocolates and everyone who came to visit went home with a box. It was fun!
Preparing the famous cinnamon drink! (traditional)
When I asked my grandma about this tradition she told me that they believed that cinnamon helps the woman’s body clean up after giving birth (I later found out that to be true, cinnamon really does have amazing benefits). Yet, with time, it became a lovely tradition where grandmas prepare this drink for everyone to have when they come to visit the new mom.
What is it exactly!? They boil water and then they add cinnamon sticks and ginger. They boil it long enough until it becomes like tea! Then pour it in cups and you can add sugar, chopped walnuts and raisins to it.
Reciting the call of prayer to the newborn! (religious)
This is like baptizing in Christianity when they take the baby to church to “announce” that the baby is growing up to be a Christian. Well, in our culture, when a new baby is born, his father or his grandfather recites the call of prayer close to his ears as a form of declaration that this baby is going to be a Muslim. It usually does not take more than 5 minutes, and it does not need a special place. They do it in the hospital!
Giving the mother a hand! (traditional)
During the first few days, the mother’s relatives (sisters, aunts, friends) come to help her out. They might help take care of the baby, keep the house clean, and prepare her some meals (breakfast or lunch). We do it for two reasons. First to keep her company for usually new moms are not prepared enough to handle the new situations alone. Second, to give her time to rest because the body needs time to heal.
Personally, I think that this should be a must! New moms go through allot and they definitely deserve someone to take care of them!
Having the new baby (boy) circumcised! (religious)
Ok, before you panic let me explain a little bit! Circumcision is a simple procedure that is a part of many religions such as Islam and Judaism. It is preformed by a trained doctor and it does not take more than 5 minutes. It’s completely safe and has enormous benefits on the body for the long term!
We need to get the baby circumcised within 21 days of his birth because the younger the baby, the easier the procedure becomes!
We had a meal (a feast)! (religious)
After a baby is born (wither it is boy or a girl) , having a meal and inviting family and friends over dinner ( for those who can afford it of course) is something preferable to do ! It is a way of thanking Allah (god) for the gift he has given you!
It was Ramadan so Ali’s parents prepared a lovely Iftar for friends and family! The Iftar was nice and delicious and yes it included taking pictures and giving gifts!
Here are some of the pictures:
having a healthy baby is the most important thing. celebrating him comes second. Helping the new mother is essential to give her time to rest and get some energy to take care of her baby properly. The rest of these traditions are gestures of happiness and joy. They might be elaborate, yet most of them are optional.
I hope you enjoyed reading about these traditions!
Do you have special traditions when it comes to welcoming newborn?
Tell me in the comments!
Until next time, be kind to yourself!