It’s no surprise that a lot of cultures around the world have their own gift-giving traditions for baby showers. No matter where you are, the arrival of a baby is always a cause for celebration!
Baby showers can vary a lot. In fact, some countries prefer to celebrate a new addition to the family after birth. Rather than before. While some traditions give presents for the baby, others for the mother, and many for both.
Mum & Baby Gift Set – Floral Gumnuts & Daiquiri Nocktail$84.95Qualifies for Free Shipping
Here we touch on the type of gift you give for a baby shower depending on your culture.
Dominican baby showers are huge parties that traditionally involve both women and men. Rather than being hosted by expectant parents. It’s a surprise party thrown by their family and friends. There is lots of food and dancing, as well as tons of games. The party often doesn’t stop until the early morning of the next day! As for gifts, it’s common to give a variety of useful, fun, and spiritual gifts for the baby. A traditional gift that many people give is an asabache. It can take many forms but is most commonly a bracelet made of jet, beads, and/or beans for the baby to wear. It brings good luck and protects against the evil eye.
Australian baby showers and the gifts given are very similar to those in other Western countries. Gifts are primarily for the baby. They can be essentials such as bibs and onesies or fun items like toys and keepsakes. It’s also common to give gifts to the expectant mum, like cotton breastfeeding pads, candles or gift cards.
One way to intertwine Australian culture into your baby shower present is by supporting Aboriginal and Indigenous Australians. this can be done by gifting storybooks with indigenous themes.
In Australia, it’s becoming common for people to have gender reveal parties instead of baby showers. If you are invited to one of these you may need to bring a gift for the gender reveal party.
Baby showers as we know them in the West originated in the U.S.A in the late 1940s and the 1950s. The typical American baby shower features games, food, drinks, and lots of gifts. The showers are traditionally female-only but, lately, they are becoming more co-ed affairs.
Did you know, however, that there is an entirely different kind of American baby shower tradition? Blessingway is a Navajo tradition that celebrates a pregnant woman as she transitions into motherhood. It is a female-only occasion.
You don’t bring a big gift to a Blessingway. Rather, each guest brings a single bead. At the ceremony, the beads are strung into a bracelet or necklace and given to the mum-to-be. This idea can be adapted in different ways. For example, bringing flowers to turn into a flower crown or charms to add to a charm bracelet.
Indian Baby Shower Gifts
Indians — particularly Hindus — have a very robust baby shower tradition. The event is called godh bharai, which translates to “fill the lap.” It is traditionally a female-only occasion that involves feasting and dancing. Usually, it is held when the expectant mother is seven or eight months pregnant.
Godh bharai also involves pampering the mum-to-be and showering her with gifts. As the name implies, they are traditionally put into her lap. The gifts given to her often include jewellery, clothes, sweets, fruits, and sometimes cash. Unlike Western baby showers, you don’t give gifts that are intended for the baby until after the birth.
Baby showers are not usually held in China. In fact, it’s considered unlucky to celebrate a baby before birth. Instead, the celebrations are held on the first or second full moon following the birth of the baby. It takes the form of a formal dinner or banquet.
The most common gift given at this event is a red envelope filled with money, called hongbao (which literally means “red envelope”). Red is a lucky colour in China and these envelopes are popular gifts for all kinds of occasions.
Large – Rabbit$73.95
It’s also common to give a gift that represents the year the baby was born, corresponding to the Chinese zodiac. If you’re going to a baby shower held for a baby to be born in 2023, consider our Year of the Rabbit baby gifts!
Pang-sai is the Tibetan ceremony held three to four days after a baby has been born. The name means “cleansing the baby.” During the ceremony, the baby is cleansed of and offered protection from any evil spirits.
At a pang-sai, guests offer many gifts to the new parents and their baby. Food and drink are brought to symbolise the baby growing up to have a full life. They typically consist of traditional fare such as barley wine, local meats and cheeses, and yak butter tea.
Egypt is another country that typically celebrates after the baby is born. The Egyptian baby shower is known as sebou’, meaning “seventh.” Unsurprisingly, it is held on the seventh day after the baby’s birth.
The sebou’ is a spiritual rite of passage dating back to Ancient Egypt, commemorating the baby’s arrival into the world. The most traditional gifts given during this event are amulets or talismans — prayers written on paper and enclosed in a gold or silver case. They ward off any bad luck or disease from the baby. It’s also common to give jewellery and trinkets made with turquoise, as blue was a lucky colour in Ancient Egypt.
In Brazil, you’ll find baby showers that are very similar to the ones celebrated in Australia. They are called chá de bebê, which translates to “baby tea.” But, it is more common to celebrate after the baby is born.
The traditional way Brazilians celebrate might surprise you. When guests come to visit the mother and newborn in the hospital, they don’t bring gifts. Rather, the mum is the one who gives gifts to the guest! These consist of candy, small trinkets, and a note to thank the guests for visiting and checking up on the mum and baby.
Baby showers are very uncommon in France. They are somewhat taboo. Instead, most people give their private congratulations to the mother.
In countries that wait until after the baby’s birth to celebrate, it’s usually within a few days to months. In France, however, you don’t celebrate until the baby’s first birthday! The celebration is usually a co-ed affair. You can view our range of first birthday gifts here.
Traditional gifts that are given include sugar almonds — blue for baby boys and pink for baby girls. This tradition has its roots in Christianity. More recently, it’s common to gift babies a popular teether toy known as Sophie la Girafe or “Sophie the Giraffe.”
In Ireland, there is no traditional baby shower, though the Western-style baby shower is becoming quite popular. Some Irish people think it’s bad luck to celebrate and give gifts before the baby is born.
There are, however, gift ideas that can be taken from Irish pregnancy traditions. For example, giving the mother honey; there is an old Irish belief that eating honey while pregnant will make your baby have a sweet temperament.
It was also traditionally common for a pregnant woman to be given a pendant with a relevant patron saint, such as St. Brigid (patron saint of babies), on it. This could be a meaningful gift to show that you wish protection for the mother and her baby.
If you celebrate a baby shower in a different culture we would love to hear about the type of gifts that are offered.
This article has been written by Luisa Figueroa. She is a mother of one and the owner of the My Little Love Heart brand. She specialises in making baby gifts for any occasion.