The concept of a baby shower dates back to ancient times. While modern-day festivities tend to include the baby’s gender, the tradition started during the very beginning of human culture, when the gender of the child was never officially involved.
It’s believed that the concept of a baby shower dates back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. They held ceremonies to welcome new life into the world. Unlike the idea of a modern celebration, the mother-to-be was not given gifts. The tradition began when the mothers were quarantined after their babies were born, as it was believed that the process was unclean. Following the purification, the women would often visit a temple.
From the 5th to the 15th century, the festivities focused on God instead of the mother. One of the most significant events people held following their child’s birth was baptism. However, it was not allowed for the mother to participate in the festivities. According to tradition, a mother was required to undergo a 40-day sequestering period.
During the Middle Ages, baby shower celebrations were more practical. As time passed, baptisms were still highly regarded, but mothers were given equal importance during the Renaissance. The mother-to-be was treated like a queen during the baby shower during this era. She was offered various gifts, such as expensive clothes and food. During the Renaissance period, some affluent families even gave paintings as presents. Mothers were often given an inlaid wooden tray with a message of good wishes for their new child.
The concept of a baby shower evolved further during the Victorian Age. Pregnant women were not always seen in public during this period but were often invited to tea parties. It was a time when women were still reluctant to publicize their pregnancy, and it was still talked about privately.
The concept of a baby shower continued to evolve from the 1800s until the 1900s. During this time, grandmothers would often lavish gifts on their expecting granddaughters. The celebrations were also more festive. The idea behind the baby shower was to help the families financially burdened by the additional expenses associated with the pregnancy. At this time, the gifts became practical, as the new mom was given various items such as diapers and clothes.
The tradition of giving gifts continues to this day. Most of the time, the festivities are hosted by the mother-to-be’s close friends and family. Today’s baby showers are lavish and festive, as fathers-to-be are also brought into the festivities. Some people still stick to traditional gifts, such as diapers and clothes. Some mothers-to-be receive indulgences, such as spa treatments and luxury baskets, that are very expensive.