: Aino Folktales

The Ainos think it very unlucky for the woman to move ever so slightly

during the act of coition. If she does so, she brings disasters upon her

husband, who is sure to become a poor man. For this reason, the woman

remains absolutely quiet, and the man alone moves.--(Written down from

memory. Told by Penri, July, 1886.)


Birth and Naming

Before birth, clothes are
got ready for the expected baby, who is washed

as soon as born.[F] The divine symbols are set up, and thanks are

offered to the gods. Only women are present on the occasion. Generally

in each village there are one or two old women who act as midwives.

The child may be named at any time. Ishanashte said that it was usually

two or three months, Penri said that it was two or three years, after

birth. The name chosen is usually founded on some circumstance connected

with the child, but sometimes it is meaningless. The parent's name is

never given, for that would be unlucky. How, indeed, could a child

continue to be called by such a name when its father had become a dead

man, and consequently one not to be mentioned without tears?--(Written

down from memory. Told by Penri and Ishanashte, July, 1886.)

[F] For the only time in its whole life!