“Diacronia” bibliometric database (BDD)

The Persistency of Romanian Birth Beliefs

Publication: Philologica Jassyensia, VII (1), p. 73-82
Publisher:Institutul de Filologie Română „A. Philippide”
Abstract:The author uses a mirror technique to highlight the few change birth customs have undertaken over centuries in Romania and more specifically in Moldova villages. She invokes ethnographic work from 19th and 20th century and compares it to customs she gathered from actual fieldwork in the past years. Each phase from this passage rite seems to have preserved ritual patterns that help the new mother and her child adapt to a different ontological situation. Although technology and society evolution have exposed traditional thinking to change, birth beliefs remain the same and secure the neophytes, both on a psychological level and on a magic one. The study also approaches the figure of the midwife, although this occupation performed without professional training faced extinction. Women still remember her and the stories they tell on the midwife are close to legend. The overall impression on birth customs emphasizes the sacred nature of the woman able to give life and to propel germination or sterility to the surrounding environment. On his turn, the baby appears highly receptive to anything his mother thinks, acts or touches, also to the persons that come into contact with him before baptism. The midwife was in charge with the magic protection of the two and some of her mystical actions are now performed by the mother herself or by her relatives.
Key words:folklore, birth customs, superstition, feminine rites
Language: English

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