The birth

The birth

1. The desire for children
The rituals for the request for a child are still frequent today among many groups. Among the Viet, the couples who have no child or no son yet, make a request in a pagoda or a temple and ask for amulets that the women will wear, hoping that their wishes will come true. Some groups invite a ritual master to officiate at home. One can organize these rituals several times until the request is fulfilled. During pregnancy, the woman has to observe certain taboos and practice many rituals to protect herself and the baby.

2. Care for new mothers

For the Viet, recovery from childbirth normally takes one month, but it can last up to 100 days for some women. In some ethnic community groups, the recovery period can be reduced to less than a week. During this time, new mothers must follow a strict diet. For the Viet, young fruit such as papaya or banana flower is included in the daily diet to foster lactation. The new mother’s room should be warm, free of draughts, and purified by the smoke of special herbs. Heating is provided by embers or the kitchen fire in most ethnic populations. Cham and Central Viet communities keep new mothers warm with jars of embers under the bed during the first month after birth. The Thai keep new mothers warm with jars of embers and kitchen fires for between 7 to 10 days.


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