Every culture has its infant-blessing method.
1. JUMP OVER IT
Since the 1620s, Spaniards in the village of Castrillo de Murcia have celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi by having men dressed as the Devil leap over a mattress of newborns. An adventurous alter¬native to baptism, it’s supposed to rid babies of original sin.
2. BLESS IT WITH FRUITCAKE
In Ireland, happy parents used to drizzle leftover pieces of their wedding cake (usually a fruitcake soaked in whiskey) over their offspring during the christening.
3. THROW IT OFF YOUR ROOF
For 500 years, villagers near a shrine in Maharashtra, India, have dropped newborns off the side of a 50-foot temple. Worshipers catch the babies on a taut bedsheet below. The ritual allegedly makes the kids fearless and intelligent.
4. GET CHEESY
In medieval times, cheese was associated with birth. A wheel of cheddar was matured for nine months as the fetus grew. Then, once the baby was born, the family would nibble on it until nothing remained but the outer rind. On christening day, the baby would be passed through it for good luck.
5. BURY THE EVIDENCE
In Nigeria and Ghana, parents give the placenta full burial rites. A tree called a zan boko is often planted where the afterbirth is buried.
6. STAY GROUNDED
In parts of Bali, a baby is not allowed to touch the ground until it’s 3 months old. After 105 days, in a Nyabutan ceremony, the baby can finally let its toes dialogue with Mother Earth. That’s a lot of baby carrying, but also a recipe for great biceps.