Customs and Feasts


274. Carrying a present of clothes to the godchild

274. Carrying a present of clothes to the godchild
Méra, former Kolozs County

Human customs and traditions already accompany the moment of birth. According to records and recollections, some women at the beginning of the last century gave birth in a standing position, leaning against the door post, perhaps clinging to a rope tied to the main girder beam. And sources also recall giving birth squatting down or in a chair. {604.} The bed entirely eliminated these ways by the second half of the 19th century. An older, experienced woman assisted the birth, but in the last two centuries mostly a midwife, assisted by woman relatives. No man could be present at the birth until after the child was born, and if it was a boy, they gave it to the father to hold. At such times the farmers who had horses took the infant to the stable and set him on the back of a horse, so that he should become a fine, horse-loving man.

Certain customs regulated the selection of names. Thus the first son inherited the name of the father, the first daughter the name of the mother, then the names of the grandparents, uncles, aunts, or respected relatives followed in order. The Matyós (cf. p. 43), however, because they tied their naming to King Matthias, liked to christen their children after him. At other places, especially in Protestant areas, biblical names were frequent (Samuel, Jeremiah, Rachel, etc.).