Author(s): Steve Roud
Pregnancy and childbirth remains a mystical and magical time, characterised by feelings of hope, uncertainty and worry. No matter how many scientific innovations come along, there's still room for home-grown beliefs and traditions handed down through the family. Couples buying a pram may still ask for it to be delivered after the birth, and some grandparents will shrink from tickling the baby's feet in case it grows up to have a stammer. "Monday's Child is Fair of Face" gathers together these beliefs and customs, explaining how and why they arose, in which parts of the country they have been particularly popular, and to what extent they survive today. Arranged thematically, it's the perfect book to dip into, and its mixture of familiar, unfamiliar and frankly bizarre beliefs makes for compelling reading.
A fascinating guide to the superstitions and traditional customs surrounding babies, from the old belief that you should not wash babies' hands to the view still widely held today that the day on which a baby is born determines its personality and fortune in life
Steve Roud is Local Studies Librarian for the London Borough of Croydon and served as Honorary Librarian of the Folklore Society for over fifteen years. He has been researching British folklore for over thirty years and is the joint author of the Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, plus other books on traditional drama and folk song, and the Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland, which won the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award in 2004. He also compiles the Folk Song Index and the Broadside Index, two internationally acclaimed computer databases of traditional folk and popular song. He lives in Sussex.