In Italian to speak the phrase 'to give birth' one says 'dare alla luce.' Translated literally the words mean, 'to give to the light.' Birth is indeed, on its most basic level, all about giving. There is a giving exchange throughout the pregnancy between the mother's body and the child's, another giving manifests at the moment of birth when the world receives a human being and the giving continues thereafter throughout the lives of both the parent and child. The lines blur who is receiving and who is giving from moment to moment. That is what love does. It erases the edges of constraint and difficulty. It eases heartache. It brings light.
The celebration of a birth varies from culture to culture. In the Christian tradition a baptism or christening welcomes the child into the larger spiritual family. This ceremony is generally performed within the first two months of the baby's birth and is attended by extended family and friends who gather after the ceremony to celebrate. Part of the ceremony includes the appointment of godparents, selected specifically to express an interest in the child's upbringing and development. Baptismal gifts from godparents and extended family become meaningful keepsakes that the child and parents treasure.
In the Jewish tradition, on the birth of a girl there will be a naming ceremony on the first day the Torah is read following the day of her birth. The father will speak a prayer for her health and spiritual development. During the prayer he will bestow a name upon her. After the services the congregation will celebrate with a party of cake and liquor called a kiddush. The tradition for a boy provides that he be circumcised by a mohel on the eighth day following his birth. After the circumcision, the child is blessed and prayers are spoken for his health and spiritual development. The mohel inserts the child's name into this prayer as it whispered into his ear by the father of the child. After the ceremony a meal is served. Gifts are generally given, and depending on their significance, they can become family heirlooms.
Brooklyn Bambini figurines are often given as gifts by family and friends because they are so distinctive. They are fine art sculptures and as such do honor to the importance of the occasion. They are gender specific, celebrating the arrival of a precious baby girl or long awaited boy in the family. And because they are four ounces of silver or bronze, they are substantial--weighty enough to convey the giver’s intention without saying a word. They are also engravable. Sometimes a word, a name or date lends additional significance to an already exquisite gift.
To learn more about how different cultures mark the event of a birth click here for an article from Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine.
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