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A Brief Insight into Baby Shower History

Figuring out when and how baby showers originated can be difficult. There are a number of theories as to how the tradition of holding a baby shower began. However, baby showers persist not because of how they originated, but because they have developed their own tradition of marking a very special event in the life of a family and even a community.

While not a direct antecedent to the modern baby shower, there is evidence that birth celebrations were held in Egyptian and Roman times. When you look at the evidence that remains of these celebrations, most of the gifts that were given to the family were handmade Ė an idea enjoying a renewed popularity today. These gifts included, but were not limited to, clothing, blankets and food for the new family. Interestingly enough, these same gifts remain popular today.

And despite the name, the event has nothing to do with actually bathing the new mother! While the origins of the term are also indeterminate, itís believed that the celebration was called a shower because the new family was showered with gifts.

The predecessors to todayís birth celebrations were probably held after the baby was born, which also provided guests with a chance to see the new baby. The gifts were pragmatic in nature then Ė typically something of high monetary value was given to help the new family get started. In fact, itís not hard to imagine the tradition of the gifts of the Magi being a continuation of this tradition of bringing gifts to a newborn, although few probably had the wherewithal to provide gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The baby shower as we know it today started at the end of World War II and coincided with the beginning of the Baby Boom. During that time, it became common for families and friends to come together and celebrate the birth of a new baby in a party atmosphere. Itís true that initially, the tradition was that only women were invited to attend such gatherings. Today, these celebrations have grown to include fathers, grandfathers, and other family members Ė anyone closely associated with the new family was welcomed to the event.

When it comes to buying gifts, youíll find that this process differs somewhat from the historical precedent. In recent times, the advent of technology has made predicting the baby's gender much more reliable. Babies are often named now before they are born, so potential baby presents can now be gender specific. This is a relatively new trend, one that shows no signs of slowing down.

For parents that havenít learned the gender of the baby, thereís still the tradition of giving gender neutral items at a shower. These can be gender neutral clothing, such as onesies or diapers, or may be items that will be useful for any baby, such as baby toiletries. Couple this with the blurring of gender roles Ė especially when caring for newborns Ė and youíll find that itís increasingly difficult to buy something that won't work for a newborn.

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