Feb 27, 2011

National Tooth Fairy Day


Quick Facts:

  • Celebrated every year on February 28, although a few sources state August 22 as the date.
  • Celebrated in honor of the Tooth Fairy.
  • The creator and origin of this observance are unknown.

Losing a first tooth for a child signifies a rite of passage, they are growing up, but it can be a scary experience. The Tooth Fairy was perhaps invented as a way of easing the anxiety of losing a tooth and making the experience fun by giving the child something exciting to look forward to when the ordeal is finally over.

A child usually loses their first tooth between the ages of 5 and 7. The child places the tooth under his pillow when he goes to bed at night and sometime during the night the Tooth Fairy quietly sneaks in and slips the tooth out from under the pillow and slides some money in it's place. I remember receiving 25 cents, and our children received a dollar, I don't know what the going rate is now.

Pre-Tooth Fairy Legends
Throughout time, many cultures have developed bizarre customs for disposing of baby teeth. The Tooth Fairy did not actual come about until the early 1900's and is kind of a "modge podge" of some of the other legends and customs.

Europe- Centuries ago in Europe, it was a common practice to bury a child's tooth in the ground. There are two explanations for this practice. First, there was a fear of witches at that time. The belief was that if a witch got a hold of any piece of your body, such as a swatch of hair or your fingernails, they could put a curse on you. The children's teeth were buried in the ground to prevent a witch from snatching it and putting a curse on the child. Secondly, they believed if they buried the baby tooth in the garden a good strong tooth would "grow" in it's place. In modern times, "burying" the tooth under the pillow may signify burying it in the ground.

France - In France they talk of a "Tooth Mouse". This tradition is most likely based on a fairy tale dating back to the 18th century called La Bonne Petite Souris, which tells of a mouse that transforms into a fairy in order to help a good queen overthrow an evil king by hiding under his pillow, and in one instance, knocking out all of his teeth.

Several Spanish-speaking countries also have a tradition of a Tooth Mouse. The "Ratoncito Perez" character was created in the late 1800's by the priest Luis Coloma, when he was asked by the royal family to write a tale for their 8 year old son when one of his teeth had fallen out.

In Viking legend, the Vikings would pay their children for their expelled teeth and then they would string them onto a necklace or make other pieces of jewelry out of them because it was believed that the teeth were good luck and would aid them in battle.

In some Asian countries, when a child loses a tooth it is customary to throw it onto the roof (if it came from a lower jaw), or into the space beneath the floor (if it came from the upper jaw). The child then wishes for his or her tooth to be replaced with that of a mouse, probably owing to the fact that mice's teeth grow for their entire lifetime - presumably giving children a lifetime of healthy teeth.

It is unclear who the exact creator of the Tooth Fairy was. In the early 1900's stories about the Tooth Fairy began to grow and in 1927, "The Tooth Fairy", a three-act playlet written for children by Esther Watkins Arnold, was published. Then in 1949 Lee Rogow published a story titled "The Tooth Fairy" which is thought to be the first children's story written about the Tooth Fairy.

DIY Tooth Fairy Pillows and Bags
Many parents like to make the "baby tooth loss/Tooth Fairy" experience even more fun by making a cute little box, bag, or pillow to put the expelled tooth in while it awaits it's final destiny with the Tooth Fairy. Here are some examples of cute Tooth Fairy pillow ideas from around the blogosphere.







2 comments:

  1. First off, I have to say I love the cute little fairly picture at the top of the post. That's darling. And these tooth fairly pillow-type ideas are so fun. I'm sure KK still has a couple years before she loses a tooth, but we've been talking about it a lot. I'm going to make her one of these things. Thanks for the cute ideas!

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  2. They are cute aren't they Marie? We just stuck the boy's teeth in a white envelope ~ boring! One of these would make it fun.

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