Belief about Birth and Deaths(Old Wives Tales) (Jamaica)

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Belief about Birth and Deaths(Old Wives Tales)

Published Apr 5, 1998

In the days of slavery we learn from our ancestors that whenever a woman had a baby both baby and mother were kept in doors for 9 days. The midwife "Nana" who delivered the baby would tie the placenta and navel string put it in a secure place. Three days after the baby's birth these were buried in the ground and a young tree was planted in the same spot. The tree became the baby's tree and was call the "navel-string tree".This practice is still carried on in rural areas of Jamaica today.

It is also believed that if a mother got wet by rain shortly after she had a baby she would die of a "catch baby cold". All the members of the family would protect the mother from getting wet by rain during the first few day/weeks of the baby's birth.

Many believed that the spirit of a dead person rises after 3 days of death and some even set a plate of food at their table for the dead. Many of our ancestors believed that the ghosts could come back to harm or protect the living.

Jamaicans' believe in lavish funerals out of respect and affection for the departed soul. After the death and until the 9th night a "wake" is held. On the ninth night friends and relatives sit with the immediate family at which time coffee, bread fish and other food is served. There is singing of hymns. The ninth night is a way of taking leave of the dead. After which the spirit is expected to be at rest.

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