ultrafacts: The Navajo have a unique tradition. When a baby is…


The Navajo have a unique tradition. When a baby is born, it is regarded as the ultimate, precious gift and must never be abused. From the moment of birth, the child is watched over continuously by family and friends, who patiently wait for the child’s first…laugh.

“Has your baby laughed?” is common question posed to parents who have infants around the age of three months. The first laugh of a Navajo child is a very significant event. It marks the child’s final passing from the spirit world to the physical world, meaning he or she is now fully human. This milestone warrants a party, and what a party it is!

Whichever brother, sister, parent, cousin, aunt, uncle, or passing acquaintance is present at the first laugh is deemed to have caused it.  The laughter instigator then receives the honored privilege of preparing a special ceremony to welcome the child into society.

Once a baby has laughed, training in generosity begins immediately—a value held in high regard among the Navajo people. At the party, where the baby is considered the host, the parents or person responsible for the first laugh help hold the baby’s hand as he or she ceremonially gives the rock salt, food, and gifts to each guest. There are also bags of candy, money, and other presents that the child “gives” along with the food. [x]


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