First-Born Baby Custom in Vietnam

Published:  00:31 Wednesday - December 14, 2011 The first-born baby custom means the wife come back to her family to have the first-born baby, and from the second child she stays at her husband’s family.

Normally in Vietnam especially in the countryside regions, three generations live under the same roof. Based on Confucianism telnet, when a girl gets marriage she has to follow her husband and live in her husband family. It has some difficulties for the wife when she is pregnant and has baby at the first time. The first-born baby custom means the wife come back to her family to have the first-born baby, and from the second child she stays at her husband’s family.

This custom is popular in Binh Tri Thien and some other regions in the north of Vietnam. In Nghe An, Ha Tinh unless the husband lives in his wife’s family in general the wife must not go to her family to have a baby. Why Vietnamese has first-born baby custom? Because in the past the married age is young, (woman from thirteen and man from sixteen can get married), and when a young wife has a baby at the first time, she does not have any experiences during pregnancy. Furthermore, she still hesitates to depend on her mother-in-law, her sister-in-law for help and it would be easier to ask for help from her mother and her sister. Next time having a baby she has experiences, she can deal with difficulties by herself so she can stay at her husband’s family. Some days before confinement, the parent-in-law or the husband goes to the wife’s family to talk with the wife’s parent to take the wife come back her family. After confinement, the baby is strong enough. The husband prepares some presents to pick her wife up and take her to his home. The grandparent-in-law of the baby is very careful to mark a smut on baby’s forehead to drive ghost away on the way coming home.

Contrary to above custom, in Ha Tinh only the daughter-in-laws can have baby at the family. If the wife is staying at her house and cannot come back her husband family, her parent has to pitch a tent temporarily for her to have a baby or she has to go to buffalo’ cage outside the house.
In case the wife is motherless, she stays at her husband family to have a baby as normal.

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