Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Folklore: Silver coin for the baby

Bagpuss 23 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM
leeneia 23 Aug 06 - 10:58 AM
Mary Humphreys 23 Aug 06 - 11:02 AM
Fiona 23 Aug 06 - 01:27 PM
Jeanie 23 Aug 06 - 01:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Aug 06 - 02:18 PM
Emma B 23 Aug 06 - 05:45 PM
Michael in Swansea 23 Aug 06 - 06:21 PM
Pwitz 23 Aug 06 - 06:22 PM
JennieG 24 Aug 06 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Fantum 24 Aug 06 - 04:55 PM
Bonecruncher 24 Aug 06 - 11:32 PM
Betsy 25 Aug 06 - 03:05 AM
Abby Sale 25 Aug 06 - 02:14 PM
Fiona 25 Aug 06 - 04:46 PM
Azizi 25 Aug 06 - 05:10 PM
Megan L 25 Aug 06 - 05:31 PM
foggers 25 Aug 06 - 06:51 PM
Zany Mouse 25 Aug 06 - 07:28 PM
Dave'sWife 25 Aug 06 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,Putty 08 Feb 11 - 02:16 PM
GUEST, topsie 08 Feb 11 - 02:52 PM
Gallus Moll 08 Feb 11 - 03:33 PM
greg stephens 08 Feb 11 - 03:39 PM
GUEST, topsie 08 Feb 11 - 05:41 PM
Gurney 08 Feb 11 - 07:56 PM
Mr Red 09 Feb 11 - 06:50 AM
IanC 09 Feb 11 - 07:22 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Feb 11 - 08:28 AM
GUEST 04 Feb 12 - 05:50 PM
RoyH (Burl) 05 Feb 12 - 11:51 AM
Jim Dixon 05 Feb 12 - 12:16 PM
Jim McLean 06 Feb 12 - 04:01 AM
GUEST 06 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM
Megan L 06 Apr 12 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,maggie 09 Apr 12 - 01:39 AM
Catherine Jayne 09 Apr 12 - 03:46 AM
Mo the caller 09 Apr 12 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Joe 24 May 12 - 08:43 AM
sheila 24 May 12 - 03:11 PM
Gweltas 25 May 12 - 01:09 AM
Carole Bannister 25 May 12 - 11:52 AM
JohnInKansas 26 May 12 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,kathy 30 Jul 12 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,Anne 22 Aug 12 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Debbie 06 Nov 12 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,David D 27 Jan 13 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Mick McG 26 Apr 13 - 04:52 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 13 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Sarge48e 17 Oct 13 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Mark 28 Dec 13 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Hilary 28 Dec 13 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,Mary 18 Nov 14 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,guest geordie 19 Nov 14 - 11:54 AM
GUEST 21 Dec 14 - 04:04 AM
Thompson 21 Dec 14 - 12:59 PM
Young Buchan 21 Dec 14 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Sally Ann Mckenzie 16 Jan 16 - 08:47 PM
GUEST 22 Jun 17 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Guest 04 Nov 18 - 04:41 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Bagpuss
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM

Having just had my second baby, I was just musing on the origins of the tradition of putting a silver coin (it seems to be a pound coin now, what with inflation...) in a new baby's hand. Does anyone know why this tradition arose, what it is supposed to signify? And how far does it extend? I know it is still common in Scotland and the North East of England, but when my sister lived in the South of England, she didn't encounter it. Has it always been a local thing, or was it once more widespread and has started to die out in some parts of the country? And what about the rest of the world? Are there similar traditions there?

Anyone got any ideas?

Bagpuss


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: leeneia
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 10:58 AM

I've never heard of this tradition. However, it may have started because if people were "poor but proud," giving money to a little child was a way to put money into the family exchequer without causing embarrassment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 11:02 AM

I first encountered it when i had my own children in Yorkshire - both East ( Hull ) and West ( Leeds). It is a symbolic gesture meant to ensure that the child never wants for money. ( Or so I was told . )
Mary


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Fiona
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 01:27 PM

It's still common in Scotland and Ireland, though not always put into the babys' hand, often placed under the pillow or bedding. Some folk are fussy about it being silver rather than pound coins, I know one baby who got over thirty pounds in 50 pence pieces. A friend from Belgium says putting a coin into the babys' hand is done there too.

I thought as well as giving something to the baby it was done for luck, usually the first time you saw the baby.

Another Scottish custom was a 'christening piece' bread or biscuits buttered and stuck together with a silver coin in the middle, wrapped in paper and given to the first child of the opposite sex that was met on the way to the christening. I was given one once and really pleased to find a half-crown (2/6, quite a lot of money) inside, I was even more pleased to be allowed to keep it after my mother explained what it was. I think this was for luck too.

fx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Jeanie
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 01:51 PM

My family originate from Wales, and it was certainly always done there - as someone has already said, the coin was put in the baby's hand the first time you see him/her, to symbolise the wish that they will never lack money in their life. My daughter was born in the London area - and it wasn't done by the local relatives there (but the Welsh ones did it !)

A similar thing is done (again by my Welsh relatives) if ever giving someone a purse as a present, by putting a couple of coins (don't need to be silver ones) into the purse.

Congratulations, Bagpuss, on the birth of your new baby. Here's a "virtual reality" silver coin for your baby, with love from me:   O

Very best wishes,
- jeanie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 02:18 PM

The custom is often referred to as 'silver for the baby'. It is also found in Canada and the United States where it is, I think, more commercialized.

Jewelry and gift stores have gifts in silver for the newborn- small rattles, banks shaped like baby animals, cups and bowls, picture frames, boxes for first curl, etc.

A coin dealer I knew cleaned and sold large old silver coins for the purpose.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Emma B
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 05:45 PM

I've always followed this custom in Cheshire when first "introduced" to a new child. The tiny hand is usually folded over the coin too to ensure that he/she will never be without money.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Michael in Swansea
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 06:21 PM

Placing silver in the baby's hand for luck is still done in Wales. It's something I do and have done ever since I could afford it. My Mam's Irish and it's done there as well. Maybe it could be a Celtic custom.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Pwitz
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 06:22 PM

I was born in Surrey and as a child I always remember my mother doing it when she saw someone's baby for the first time - even it was only a silver sixpence or a 'two bob' bit - this was in the 1950s!! And like Emma B. says, it was always put into the baby's hand.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: JennieG
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 07:59 AM

I haven't come across this custom here in Oz, but do know about putting a coin in a purse before giving it as a gift - I think the idea was that the purse should never be empty. Many years ago there was a brand of womens' handbags and purses that had a coin (it would have been a penny in pre-decimal currency days) encased in a clear plastic holder, sewn into the lining of the purse.

Cheers
JennieG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Fantum
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 04:55 PM

I always do it
A pound usually not a note
Never touch the baby with the money
For luck though the babys or mine I've never found out
If I meet a new one they get paid

Odd when you start to analyse these things

Fantum


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 11:32 PM

Crossing the baby's hand with silver was certainly done in my family in Hampshire, and still is to this day.
It is given as a good luck synbol that the child should never want for money.
A baby girl to whom I gave, in 1972, a George 4th silver sixpence has had it mounted and still wears it around her neck today.
Similarly, we never give an empty purse, and if a knife is given as a gift then the recipient is expected to pay a coin for it, lest a friendship be cut.
Colyn.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Betsy
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 03:05 AM

Everything Bonecruncher says, I'll go along with (except I don't know about the knife bit) , and I'm from the opposite end of the country to (him ?)in the North East of England . Purse or wallet, always given with a small amount of money in it, and you might find it was silver threepenny-bits were given as a gift as most sixpences were " silver " in any case.
In the absence of such coinage , I generally stroke the the babys hand and ask Mum to put the money in baby's money box.
It's just a way of wishing them prosperity, ( as opposed to the more fortunate being born with a silver spoon in their mouths ).

Cheers

Betsy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Abby Sale
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 02:14 PM

In Edinburgh they called it 'silvering the baby' and a six-pence was usually used for the reasons given. It was placed under the pillow or under the blanket. I think that's less likely to be swallowed. We usually combined the custom with practicality and more folklore by using a (n inexpensive, usually) silver baby or espresso spoon. Still do that. No one seems to object.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Fiona
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 04:46 PM

Re: silver spoons, I recently heard an article on BBC R4 which said silver spoons were a lifesaver for babies due to the antibacterial properties of silver.

The custom of giving a coin in a purse is still usual in Scotland today, I think it may be called to 'hansel' the purse. Giving a coin back in return for a knife also included anything sharp, eg a brooch pin, traditionally the samllest coin of the realm.

fx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 05:10 PM

"The custom is often referred to as 'silver for the baby'. It is also found in Canada and the United States where it is, I think, more commercialized"-Q.

I live in the Eastern region of the USA and I've never heard of this custom. Perhaps this custom is known in other parts of the USA than where I live.

I have heard the phrase "born with a silver spoon".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Megan L
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 05:31 PM

Ye siller a bairn, hansel a purse and blunt a knife.

The siller for a bairn was traditionally to keep the folk o the ben side at bay siver was considered pure and therefore was powerful in protecting the child. (The silver theme is used in many ancient legends and is the only known bullet _originally arrowhead_ that could stop a werewolf or vampire.)

Hanseling a purse was originally a blessing between the giver and the reciever wishing them good fortune. As long as the hansel was left in the purse others would join it and the person would never have to go without.

Tae blunt a knife -to return a small coin in exchange for the gift of any sharp object, the coin symbolised a promise that the gift would never be turned on the giver an important bond in often violent times.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: foggers
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 06:51 PM

My mum was from Staffordshire but had lived in Durham in the early years of her marriage to my dad, and whilst she was very cynical about superstitons, she did always touch money in the hand of a new baby, though she said it was more to overcome any embarrassment at giving/receiving cash rather than obersing a good luck ritual.

Clearly the silver thing has been commercialised (you only have to see those silver piggy banks etc in the windows of high street jewellry shops - tacky if you ask me!) but I have seen the tradition continue at work when colleagues bring the new baby in for a visit - some people specifically touch a coin in the baby's hand.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 07:28 PM

We had this custom in the West Riding of Yorkshire, again to ensure the baby never wants for money. My mother had a little stash of old silver threepenny bits for such an occasion. They were also given out to family brides to put in their new home with the same hope. It didn't work for me incidentally!

Rhiannon


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 11:35 PM

My family is Irish-American but of relatively recent emigration having come to the USA in the teens and 1920s. My sister still has one of the Silver dollars given to her for this custom and it was quite old. I have a JFK coin from the same custom, I believe it's a 50 cent piece. I also still have some other small silver items given to me shortly after my birth by male friends, family and colleagues of my father. As it was practised in my family, only men gave the silver to the babies. My favorite is a beautiful silver spoon my father's then partner (he was a cop) gave to me. All the folks giving the silver were Irish except for one who was Italian. maybe he was just going along with the crowd or perhaps it's a more widely prqactised custom. I don't know.

Perhaps this is a Catholic thing, but I recall also being given silver coins by male relatives for my First Communion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Putty
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 02:16 PM

My mother, born in 1900 Meadville, PA told me that her Scottish grandfather "placed a silver coin in the palm of her tiny hand and folded her fingers tightly over it while saying to her, 'now you will never want for money.'" Her grandfather died when she was barely five months old, but my mother claimed that she remembered him! I'm sure what she remembered was her mother telling her the story about her grandfather, but this Scottish grandfather was actually born in Wales to a Cornish father and a Welsh mother and the family all moved to Scotland whence they immigrated to this country. So perhaps the custom was really Celtic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 02:52 PM

I only came across it once, in West London, but I think the family may have originated in Wales. However, silver christening gifts are common and may come from the same tradition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 03:33 PM

All of the above traditions (silver for the baby, hanselling a purse, blunting a knife ) were and still are in common practice in the West of Scotland areas I frequent.

Other traditions involving money are the scramble at a wedding, when the newly weds are leaving the church the groom throws a handful of coins out of the car window for children to 'scramble' for.

Also, if you find a dropped coin on the ground, pick it up and pass it on to the first person you see (who then passes it on etc) - I think this is for luck? It would be interesting to follow the journey of one of those coins!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 03:39 PM

In Lancashire in 1978 an elderly neighbour tucked a 50p piece under the pillow in my daughter's pram as we pushed her back from the christening. He said "To wet it heid" ("to wet it's head" in N Lancs!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 05:41 PM

When I have come across 'wetting the baby's head' it involved the grown-ups, parents, family, godparents, having a drink (in the baby's honour).

I've only come across the scrambling for coins at a wedding in Scotland.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Gurney
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 07:56 PM

I thought it was 'crossing the baby's head with silver' and that you waved it over the baby before giving it.
My grandfather, from Derbyshire farming stock, once gave me a knife and insisted that I paid him a penny for it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 06:50 AM

Me & my sis got little silver plated cups - but that may have been a christening thing.

Not that I remember being given them - you understand.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: IanC
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 07:22 AM

This was a common practice in my family (Cambridgeshire stock all) but I thought it had probably been discontinued until, a week or so after my grandson was born last October, my cousin arrived an immediately did the thing. These things hang on pretty thoroughly, it seems.

I think the silver for Christening gifts (which is still very much alive) is most likely related. I bought a silver bracelet from a charity shop for my cousin's daughter when she was christened. Cups, and egg/spoon sets are also popular. It doesn't matter if it's not new either (though handing them down is not appreciated ... you should hang on to your own) in fact secondhand seems to be slightly preferable.

:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 08:28 AM

Different - but the same principle.
Here in the West of Ireland it was (and still is among the older residents) a custom to put a silver coin in the foundations of a new house. Considering the late, not lamented housing boom, there must be a considerable fortune buried in new property in Ireland
It was also the custom to wish a newcomer wealth, warmth and nourishment - we were quite bemused when a neighbour handed us a bag containing a 50p coin, a piece of coal and a potato.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 05:50 PM

I always knew about silver in a baby's hand (it had to be in their hand though) and thought it was for prosperity in life (I came from Cumbria but my Granny was Welsh). Recently I have been doing some research on Candlemas and reading up on Jewish ceremony of Pidyon HaBen where the first born male child is taken to the temple and 'redeemed' for 5 silver coins! Interesting silver and baby's always seem to have gone together.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 11:51 AM

I have kkown this custom all my adult life. Nowadays I usually offer a 50p piece, or two if I have them. (A pound coin is not silver.) I agree with Emma B that the child's fingers should be closed over the coin. That's the wayI was taught it. Just a couple of months ago I had the pleasure of placing coins in the hand of my brand new great-granddaughter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 12:16 PM

I have never heard of such a custom in the US. I have lived in St. Louis, MO and St. Paul, MN. My parents came from Kentucky and Arkansas.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 04:01 AM

I was born and brought up in Paisley, West Scotland, and we had all the customs previously mentioned. The "scramble" for coins at a wedding was called "bowl money", bowl pronounced as in owl.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM

When I was in Scotland you put the silver coin in the wee'ns hand. If the wee'n held onto the coin - that - meant the wee'n would always have $$$. I never did it with a small coin and I never seen a Scottish wee'n that didn't hold onto the coin.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Apr 12 - 11:07 AM

As child i was taught A bairn a knife and a braw new pooch (pouch or purse) should aw be hanseled wie siller. The bairn fur health the pooch fur wealth and the knife so a friendship ner be cut.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,maggie
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 01:39 AM

my cockney mum did this also


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 03:46 AM

When all 3 of my children were born they were given silver coins in their hands by a number of relatives and close family friends to ensure they are never without money. I also had a coin sewn into my wedding dress.

We also put together a little pouch for for each of the children when they were born and keep them under the mattresses of the kids to ensure that they sleep safe and sound.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 11:45 AM

I was brought up in London. I remember my grandad asking me for money before he gave me a knife. If you didn't pay it would 'cut friendship'
Same with a purse, it shouldn't be given empty. It was usually given with an old silver thrupny bit in (not the twelve sided coin).
And I still have the Chest of Drawers and Dressing Table that my parents bought with the money that was put into my pram when I was a baby.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 24 May 12 - 08:43 AM

My family did it during the days when babies wore belly bands. It was believed at the time that the navel needed to be kept in place after birth, so as not to rupture...or protrude....so cloth belly bands were placed on the child....the bands had a pouch in which a silver dollar was placed to hold the navel in, but not exposing it to the coin itself...The silver dollar was large enough to do the trick. It just became customary to give the new born his/her first dollar to be used in this manner...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: sheila
Date: 24 May 12 - 03:11 PM

I know the 'scramble' tradition as a 'poor oot'. The family is Highland, transplanted to Edinburgh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Gweltas
Date: 25 May 12 - 01:09 AM

My late mother was from North Tipperary in Ireland and always put a silver coin in a new baby's hand and closed it's fingers over the coin. Of course it was then quickly removed again and given to the mother, for fear of the child asphyxiating itself on the coin ! She called it "handseling the baby" and the objective was to ensure that the baby would never be without money during it's life. I continue this tradition, as I was brought up with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Carole Bannister
Date: 25 May 12 - 11:52 AM

Not sure but would it be to stop the fairy folk stealing the baby?
They were always swapping their babies for human ones which were then called changlings so perhaps it was meant for the fairys. Bit like the tooth fairy in reverse?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 26 May 12 - 07:57 AM

I have wondered if the tradition was the reason for a silver "trade dollar" that my grandfather kept, although no one in the family ever made reference for a reason for it. He was born (1884) shortly after the family arrived in Kansas from Indiana, apparently in a small group of settlers.

The coin shows a mint date the same year he was born, and that alone would have made it something of a "keepsake," and he did say once that it was given to him "when he was born."

Trade Dollars were for a time "illegal" under a US ban on private possession of "pure silver" so it's possible he kept it because some in the family thought he'd go to jail if he tried the sell it. (The coin is stamped ".999 FINE" (IIRC - but it might be .997).

A second item from the family that might also be related to a "tradition" unknown to us was a small doll dressed in a gown matching the one his son (my dad) wore for his christening. We have a photo of him in his gown, and it's a very close match for the one on the doll. We were told the doll's gown was crocheted by "his aunt" but there's no record or memory of which aunt. Perhaps some one has heard of a tradition (or even just a common practice) of that sort?

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,kathy
Date: 30 Jul 12 - 12:42 AM

I've never really heard of this.... silver n babies, however im sure it is just a tradition your culture has just like many other cultures do. Most hispanic believe in the bad eye... basically if a person with strong will has the desire to carry the baby and that desire is not granted then the child will become sick... that is why most hispanic babys wear tiny red beads in jewelry or sea shells... the beads break off the jewelry when the child is expose to the "bad eye". I (as an american hispanic) dont belive in this, however it wont stop me from buying the red beads.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Anne
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 10:20 AM

Hi I'm from OZ and it a tradition in my family to place either a gold or silver coin in the new baby's hand and pass on a blessing. This has been handed down from my fathers side who were Irish. I have done it with all of my children and grandchildren. A blessing of never wanting and happiness


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Debbie
Date: 06 Nov 12 - 12:41 PM

I remember my mom giving a new baby a silver coin. She wouldn't even touch or hold a newborn until she had been able to put silver in it's hand. She did it to all her grandchildren as well.I have been doing the same, and have been questioned why, and always said it was so the child would never be without money.
My mom is from Surrey,England and her mom from Glasgow,Scotland,and before that it was Ireland. We are in Canada now, and my sister's and I will do the same before we touch a newborn.
We also never give a new wallet or purse without a coin inside, and I have even had to give my mom a coin when a new knife set was given to me!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,David D
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 12:23 PM

My Italian born (Naples) mother gave our first born a silver dollar here in California. I asked how far back does this go, she stated as far as her Grandmother, giving birth to her first born, was given a silver coin for the infant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Mick McG
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 04:52 PM

On Tyneside a silver coin is given to new babies for luck and so they're never without money. At weddings we have a 'hoy oot' (of money). As kids we used to chase the wedding cars to the church on a Saturday to get the 'hoy oot'.Sometimes there was a 'hoy oot' at the brides house.I've just warned my brother in law that if he doesn't have a hoy oot at his daughters wedding in July he'll bring shame on our family, he's from Yorkshire! At christenings a small parcel of food (cheese and jam sandwich was popular!) and money was given to the first boy (if the baby was a girl) and a girl, if the baby was a boy. This happened on the way to church but I don't know if anybody does it now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 07:52 AM

In Chinese culture we have a huge celebration when a baby turns a month old, involving eggs dyed red, red packets and gold jewellery. In the past they used to shave a lock of the baby's hair.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Sarge48e
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 03:10 PM

Although I was born in the US, my German-born grandfather and British grandmother put a silver dollar into my hand the first time they saw me. I just did the same for my first grandchild. While this is not a common practice in the US, it appears to be (or at least have been) very common in a large part of Europe. It was told to me that this was done so that the child would never know poverty in their lifetime.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 28 Dec 13 - 06:15 PM

Greetings, I'm opportunistically researching this tradition after my mate's sister has just had a new baby. I insisted he had silver to "put in the pram" to gift the baby as he was visiting for the first time since the birth. So I ferreted out an old 1889 three penny bit for him. He thought me mad & obviously asked why? Uhmm...I didn't exactly know? I was taught as a child this was talismatic, a VERY good omen, & would bring financial well-being throughout his/her life IF they kept possession of the coin. In hindsight that infers financial prudence = physical good health, or be cautious with your money & you'll be ok. I was brought up in Suffolk, East Anglia, England, so this tradition was being orally passed on in the 60's. He was bemused as another friend he was relating the news to had said the very same thing! lol Both of us who said this are 50+yrs old & living in Scotland so I'm curious as to the geographic spread, it's still common practice here. Needless to say he's away to meet his nephew & deliver his gift ;O) Regards to all...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 28 Dec 13 - 09:43 PM

I read in Tristram Coffin's Folklore in America about a practice of putting a coin in a baby's hand. If it grasps the coin tightly, it will become a miser, but if it holds it loosely, it will be generous. I can't remember the precise location this custom was collected in, and have no idea if it's still in circulation as I think the book was at least 50 years old.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Mary
Date: 18 Nov 14 - 04:24 PM

O.K.thought I'd look up the origins of placing a silver coin in a baby's hand, and have just read all the comments I have always known it for good luck and to keep the devil away, I also thought that it was good luck for the giver to do so.
My family are Greek, Italian & Irish, perhaps it is multi-cultural thing, the emphasis being on silver that is pure to keep evil at bay.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,guest geordie
Date: 19 Nov 14 - 11:54 AM

In North East England my son was given a silver coin, a small twisted paper package containing salt and a piece of coal by my elderly aunt It was a family tradition but was also practiced everywhere in my region. The silver ensured the baby would have money, the salt for food, and the coal for fire or warmth. The Hoy Oot at weddings was usual when I was a kid but some grown ups also used to scramble in the gutter for coins.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 04:04 AM

My grandmother who was born in Chicago but lived from the age of 3 to 15 in rural Transylvania and was of Transylvanian Saxon heritage practiced this custom. She put an American silver dollar in the hand of each grandchild the first time she met her or him and said that it was to insure prosperity. I'd always assumed this was a Transylvanian Saxon or Eastern European tradition until coming across this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 12:59 PM

Interesting about the belly-band thing, considering that silver is considered to be anti-bacterial.
My mother told me that when she and my uncle were very fair-haired children (her hair was white-blonde), if they went to a fair they'd make their fortune because every farmer would rush to hansel them for good luck. She was considered particularly lucky (in the sense that Leif the Lucky was lucky: bringing luck to others).
I was taught never to give or accept a present of a knife or anything sharp; if you had to, you'd give a penny for it so it wouldn't cut the friendship.And in Ireland if one knife swings around so the blade crosses another on the table, or if knives are crossed generally, someone will always pick up one knife and slap the flat of the blade on the other; otherwise there'll be a row.
Putting money in a purse you're giving as a present seems universal; it even happens in Japan, where they have fancy ring-shaped coins with a pink crepe ribbon threaded through them for this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: Young Buchan
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 01:15 PM

Christening the Baby, a song found amongst traditional singers in east Anglia, includes the lines:
We gave the baby a half a crown, and everything was grand
Until someone took the money from the little darling's hand
And spent it buying bitter beer, till we could hardly stand ....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Sally Ann Mckenzie
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 08:47 PM

In Wooler, Northumberland, a bride & groom could not leave the church until they had jumped the skipping rope. Then the groom gave the 'Hoy oot' of pennies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 17 - 02:55 PM

It is a family tradition with my family here in the US.   We are of Scottish / Welch and Irish descent.   I passed the silver dollars given to me at my birth on down to children in my family.   No one has ever been able to tell me why... When questioned why, I just always got the answer.. "because that is what we do"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Silver coin for the baby
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 04 Nov 18 - 04:41 PM

My family is Armenian and a silver dollar was often given to little boys as babies or at weddings. As a girl I never got any. We had the same tradition of putting money in a gift purse and paying for a knife.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 November 10:29 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.