Customs during pregnancy, birth and raising a child in Eastern Rhodopes: pre birth customs

A family without children is considered incomplete – “a house without children is empty”.

There are no categorically expressed preferences of all families for her gender, but everywhere they are happy with a boy. For the young mother, it is a special pride to say that she has an “asker – soldier” – the explanation is that the boy will stay to make the hard work in the village.

The birth of a girl is interpreted as a future of the house filled with joy. Along with the desire for more children in the family, the people from Rhodopes apply some practices in order to have a successful pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child. One of the practices is that the bride should be careful not to pass under a bridge so that her children can be safe, not to jump a thread because the umbilical cord will wrap around the baby’s neck, not to drink from a narrow opening because the child will swallow difficult. Another practice is not to eat anything in front of a young boy or man without giving it to him, because his “seed” can be lost. When the pregnancy begins to be visible, it should not be a secret because the child will not speak in time. When the pregnancy becomes apparent, they give the woman to wear fried martenica, garlic onion, and blue stones to protect from negative energy. Any meeting with a pregnant woman is interpreted as something very good because she “carries two souls”. At the first malaise and vomiting, they say that at that moment the child’s hair grows.