The Origin and History of Baby Showers

Baby showers are one of the popular celebrations intended for the baby and the expectant parents. It is popular in all parts of the world. Celebrities and significant couples also enjoy the most trending event of baby showers for their own babies.

Baby showers have been celebrated around the world for centuries. In fact, it had been a part of the tradition in different societies. Even though its origin is untraceable, evidence of its practice can be seen in the societies of the ancient Rome and Egypt. In the US, baby showers started to become a trend only after World War II. The term “baby shower” may sound new, yet the rituals and celebrations being practiced during the event were ancient.

 

  • Baby Showers in Ancient India

During the ancient days of India, a pregnant woman, on her 6th or 8th month of pregnancy, was showered and gifted with a variety of sweets, dried fruits, and baby items. They also offer ritual prayers for the baby and the mother for safe delivery. At the gathering, they also play musical instruments because they believed that the baby inside the womb can hear the music. The ritual was known as “godbharaai” in northern India, “dohaaljewan” in western India, and “saadhroshi” in West Bengal and Odisha.

 

  • Baby Showers in Ancient Egypt

During the ancient days of Egypt, pregnancy was celebrated only after childbirth. They welcome the new baby after purification rituals were completed. The mother who gave birth need to stay at home, perform the rituals, and visit the temple first before going out to introduce the baby. Baby showers were done in the most traditional way and were a female-centered type of event.

 

  • Baby Showers in Ancient Greece

During the ancient days in Greece, people shout to signal that the baby just came out. This practice was known as “oloyge” and it was intended to indicate that “peace had arrived” in their town when the baby was born. Traditionally, people welcome the new baby into the society with a public “dekate” ceremony or “Amphidromia” ceremony as ritual.

 

  • Baby Showers in Medieval Europe

During the ancient days in Medieval Europe, priests come to the house of the mother who is giving birth so that she may be able to confess her sins before something unfavorable happen. Mothers were likely to die during childbirth due to risks. On the other hand, the priests also performed baptism of the baby right after delivery. The godparents were there to witness the baptism ceremony and to shower the new baby with gifts such as a pair of silver spoons and other precious items.

 

  • Baby Showers in Renaissance Europe

During the ancient days of the Renaissance, pregnant mothers were showered with various birth gifts such as wooden trays, bowls, useful items, baby items, foods, paintings, sculptures, and precious gifts. They believed that giving birth to a new baby was a mystical event that should be celebrated.

 

  • Baby Showers in the Victorian Age

In the Victorian era, pregnant women prefer to hide their pregnancy. They stayed home, instead, due to the high infant mortality rate during that period. They were only allowed to celebrate the baby after the baby is born. Hence, baby showers during the Victorian Age happened after childbirth. Tea parties were the common practice among women for any celebrations at that time, including on baby showers.

The family and friends who attended the baby showers brought special gifts for the baby and the new mom. Preferably, they made baby clothes instead of buying one. Handmade gifts were the trend during their time.

 

  • Baby Showers in the Modern Age

After the World War II, the modern way of celebrating pregnancy and a new baby has become a trend in America. Due to the post-war situation, it was the generation of baby boom. Most women celebrate pregnancy in a significant way.

Baby showers during those days were an opportunity for friends of the pregnant women to provide for the baby. Among the popular baby shower gifts that they bring at the party were useful and functional baby items and parenting materials.

 

  • Baby Showers in the New Generation

As new technology rises, the traditional baby shower celebrations have changed significantly. Aside from the female-only exclusivity of the party, special games and programs are also added to make the event more fun and enjoyable.

Some baby showers in the new generation are intended for the expectant fathers. The friends of the father come along to celebrate the coming of a new baby, and most of them bring beers, foods, and other baby-related gift items.

They usually watch sports games, videos, or movies while drinking beer. They also play games about baby care or diaper change. In fact, this activity is called ‘wetting the baby’s head’ or ‘milking party’ in other countries.

The history of its origin is not specific but there are significant evidence that baby showers, whether in traditional rituals or ceremony, were observed and practiced since the ancient days. At first, the rituals were made after childbirth, and the only gift they bring was prayers for the baby and the recovering mother. However, during the Renaissance era, there was implication that baby gifts were also brought to shower the baby and the parents a couple of months before the childbirth. Since then, baby showers became a trend among pregnant moms, and her friends gather together to have fun as they celebrate the pregnancy.