When a Balinese baby's feet first touch the ground an important developmental milestone is reached, but it is one that the western world overlooks.
Holding the youngest of babies, western parents may be seen bouncing a child on their knees, and then up and down on the floor. Not so in Bali, however.
Here, an infant or young baby is believed to be anchored to the spiritual world. Until a baby is just over three months old (specifically, 105 days), she is carried by the mother and father, and the host of other relatives and friends who live in and visit the family compound. A baby is simply too sacred to be contaminated by the Earth!
A "Nyabutan Ceremony" is the time to rejoice in connecting a baby to her earthly life. And, like a thousand other Balinese ceremonies, this celebration gently overpowers the senses with the sight of colorful dress and temple offerings, the wafting of incense, and the presence of the spirits--gods and goddesses around, ancestors behind, and this new life ahead.
Women bless the compound, a priest chants words of praise and protection, and family members generously welcome Jim, Elizabeth (my visiting midwife friend, who caught our babies) and me--all in our traditional Balinese "costumes"--to this precious celebration.
THIS (two-minute) VIDEO you will see, as we did, a baby's feet contact our world for the first time!