Cambodia is a country packed with traditions and customs. There are so many ceremonies that Cambodian people celebrate from one generation to the next. These ceremonies are especially held during the milestone of one person’s life such as born, married, and dead. Traditionally, giving birth to a child is a very complicated process, and it is divided into three terms: Before giving birth, during giving birth, and after the baby is born.
Before giving birth, a Cambodian mother has to follow many traditional advices
Before giving birth to a baby, a mother always make sure that everything will work fine when she gives birth to her baby. To have a safe time giving birth to her baby, a mother has to follow many traditional advices. She has to follow the instructions and avoid all the prohibitions. First, a mother should not eat spicy food during her pregnancy as it makes infant difficult to survive. Also she should not wear tight clothes or try to get something put on a high shelf. Moreover, a mother is not allowed to eat porridge for they believe that eating porridge during the pregnancy gives the infant a bad complexion color. It says porridge makes the baby’s complexion dull not bright. If there is a lunar or solar eclipse during her pregnancy, the mother must make sure to rub her stomach with CaCO3 in order to eye fold the baby not to see the ugly face and the evil power of Rahu. If she does not do so, her baby will not be born as a clever child because the child intelligent was gone when he or she saw Rahu’s evil power. The reason of being intelligent is because the baby was too scare and lost all of his or her memory.
Beside all of these instructions that help keep the mother and the baby healthy, there are also many others instructions that assure the mother that she will have a safe time giving birth. A mother should not take a siesta or take a bath at night because it makes the baby grow bigger, so she might have a hard time giving birth. Also, a pregnant women has to get up before her husband, otherwise her infant will become lazy and it will not be active enough to get out during the birth, so the mother will be the one who push the baby out and she will encounter a hard time as the baby is lazy to move itself out.
During the birth, the mother’s husband or father has to go and fetch the midwife to the help the mother to give birth. A midwife during the ancient time was not very skillful, she didn’t study any specific class, she just knew it from her mother or her own experiences.
What has to be done when the baby is born
After the baby is born, the mother usually stays on fire for three days and seven days if it is her first child (means the mother lie on the bed and a small fire under the bed keeps her body warm). They also cut the baby’s first hair or today they shave the baby’s head (means all the bad luck from the past life will be gone). They also put a holy small red string around the arm of the baby to keep the mother of the last life away from visiting the baby and tell the stories of the last life and last but not least give the price to the midwife, because if they don’t do so, the mother will become the midwife waitress for the next world.
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Sour se sday Seiyon, thank you for the article. It was very interesting to learn more about the Cambodian culture and how different it is in comparison to our culture. I’m already waiting for your next article..
Hugs from Germany