Every culture views the birth of a new baby similarly. It is a time of celebration because a family has grown. However, how each culture celebrates its new arrival can be different.
Pakistan is an example of a country with its own set of baby birth traditions surrounding a new baby. The first bath, the first haircut, and the first welcome are all prescribed.
So, what are the popular baby birth traditions in Pakistan?
Pakistan is a large and populous country in South Asia. Due to its majority Muslim population, most of the baby birth traditions follow the Islamic tradition. This means that many baby birth traditions are intended to welcome the child into their new faith. This blog will analyze what those traditions look like for an adorable new baby.
Once a baby is born, they need to be bathed as soon as possible. Cleanliness is important in Islam. The afterbirth and placenta are also buried immediately. This has to do with returning it to the earth according to the Quran.
First Words Heard (Azaan)
After the baby is bathed for the first time, the first words a baby hears should be the Azaan. The Azaan is the Muslim call to prayer. The prayer is first spoken in the right ear, then the left. This is one of the most essential practices immediately following the birth of a baby.
An elderly family member usually does this practice. If an elder is not available, then it can be done by the baby’s parents. The person administering the rite places honey on their finger then puts it in the baby’s mouth. The baby tasting something sweet is meant to affect their personality.
Following the birth, the baby will begin to feed. As a celebration of the baby’s development, monetary gifts are given to the sisters of the father, if he has any
Seven days after the birth of a baby, their head is shaved. The hair is then weighed, and the weight in silver is donated to charity. Shaving their head is meant to show that the child is cleansed and ready to be a Muslim.
First Welcome (Aqiqah)
On the seventh day of the baby’s life, a dinner party is thrown to welcome the child to the community. The killing of sheep is customary: two for boys and one for girls. This is a way of giving thanks to God for the birth of the baby.
The meat is divided into three parts and distributed to the family, those in need, and the baby’s parents. The baby’s name is announced, and gifts are given to the baby in celebration. This event may also happen on the 14th, 21st or later, depending on when the family can afford to throw the party.
A lot of celebration takes place following forty days of the baby’s life. To commemorate this milestone, the grandparents give the baby a gold ring present. The ring is then placed on the finger of the baby. Family and friends also throw lavish parties for the baby during this time.
These beautiful traditions contain a lot of meaning for the families’ faith and community. The amazing part of these traditions is how the family and community come together to make this new child feel loved and welcomed.
Check out our Baby Birth Tradition blog series – Baby Birth Traditions – Nigeria
Written by: Gabrielle Goldson