Alena Lidzhieva, Rituals Connected with the birth of a Child
Interviewer: What rituals do we perform when a child is born? Do we have such rituals? Alena: Yes, we do. I: How is a new-born received, how is the umbilical cord cut, how is a new-born bathed? A: When a woman is about to give birth, a midwife or an elderly woman is invited. After the baby is born, she measures its umbilical cord with her index finger and then cuts it. If it is a boy, it is announced. If it is a girl, her birth is not announced. Then the family visits a Buddhist temple or invites an astrologist to give the baby a name. I: How is a new-born baby bathed? A: In Buddhist temples monks give special water to parents to wash their new-born babies. After their umbilical cord falls off, a ritualized bath is performed using milk and incenses. I: How is the hair cut when a baby reaches a year? A: When a baby reaches a year, a bundle from their hair is cut off and kept in a secure place. The number of kept hair bundles is the same as the number of children in the family. Hair bundles are wrapped in a white cloth and kept for many years until the child reached 50 or 60 years. I: (In the past) where in the yurt did people keep their babies? A: A cradle with a crook was attached to a roof pole of the yurt. Babies were put in there. I: Did babies feel cold inside the yurt in the winter? A: I do not remember. Probably they did. I remember how we all sat around the fire to warm up our feet.