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Tooth Fairy Traditions – what does the molar myth look like around the world?

We shape our daily routine around them, we clean them, floss them, chew with them and check them for lipstick and food bits, tear open a bag with them when nobody’s looking. Our teeth are valuable to us, both in how they look and how we use them. It’s no wonder a tooth fairy would pay big bucks for them.

Throughout human history and across cultures, some interesting traditions have cropped up to accommodate the superstitions and celebrations surrounding the loss of baby teeth and the new gap for big-girl-and-boy teeth.

The United States & Canada

Let’s start with the enigmatic fairy. Who is she and where did she come from? And is she a ‘she’ after all?

The Tooth Fairy appeared in earliest written records of Norse in Northern Europe (almost 900 years ago), rewarding children when they lost their first tooth. Over the years, her payment, much like the number of presents Santa leaves, has increased but depends greatly on the country, family economic status and the average their friends receive. The fairy could perhaps use a business course.

 

Cha-ching Children! How much is she paying this year?

On average in the US, the tooth hoarder slips an average of $5.70 under your child’s pillow for the first tooth. After that, she leaves $4.13 per tooth on average. Bulk price, makes sense. Her price is in a slight slump in 2018, dropping 2 pennies from last year’s averages.

Canada went all out in embracing this tradition, and our fairy friend has her own money now. The Royal Canadian Mint began selling Tooth Fairy Quarters in 2011. After reading this, they’ll see they need to update those to Tooth Fairy dollars – quarters aren’t cutting it anymore. As you can see below, the fairy has two very different looks, but the Canadians are not the only ones who haven’t settled on what she looks like.

Wherever you look, there are fewer consistent descriptions of the Tooth Fairy than of Santa or the Easter Bunny. According to surveyed fairy customers, 74 percent thought she was female, 12 percent thought it was genderless, and 8 percent thought that he or she could be either male or female.

Spain, Latin America, and other parts of Europe

The Ratoncito Pérez (Pérez Mouse for the English speaking) is celebrated in Spanish-speakingcountries. Endearingly nicknamed Raton Pérez, the mouse will leave a gift, not always money, for the lucky child who just lost their tooth. Sometimes Mr. Pérez, in his great journey for the treasure, is deemed thirsty and so the tooth is left in a glass of water, which he drinks before scuttling off with the tooth. In many cultures, mice and rodents are admired for their strong ever-growing teeth, and Spanish and Hispanic cultures are not alone in wanting to associate these lucky creatures with their children’s teeth.

In Italy, we can find Topolino, also a mouse, who undertakes the Tooth Fairy’s normal tasks, and similarly in France la petite souris, ‘the little mouse’, purchases these toothy treasures. In parts of Scotland, the traditions fused and we can hear of a white fairy rat who buys the teeth with coins.

India, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam

In some Asian countries, the child who lost their teeth throws it onto the roof if the tooth fell from the lower jaw, or if it came from the upper jaw they will throw it underneath the floor or home.While tossing their tooth, the child yells, asking for the tooth to be replaced with the tooth of a mouse (That’s right, we have not finished with the mice. The tooth fairy is feeling a little outnumbered right now.) This harkens back to how rodent teeth grow for the entire creature’s life and the gesture symbolizes health, strength, and longevity. In India, the child sometimes buries their teeth underground by a big tree.

The Japanese have finessed this tradition and throw their teeth straight up or down depending on where the tooth came from. This is in hopes that the tooth will grow straight. Ever the leaders in style.

Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Sudan

Similarly to the Asian countries, theatrical throwing is involved in these Middle Eastern countries. This time, the tooth is tossed upward toward Allah, although this tradition may predate Islamic tradition and emerged around when tooth fairies sprung in Europe in the 13th century.

Mongolia

Another animal gets a shot at partaking in the ceremony in Mongolia. Dogs are fed the child’s tooth (they make the tooth palatable with some fat or food). This special treat, woefully unappreciated by the dog, is in hopes that the child’s new tooth will grow to be as strong as the dog’s.

It seems that wherever you look, there’s a bit of tooth envy. While having the strength in your teeth of a mouse or a dog is impressive, there’s nothing quite like looking after the teeth you do have to keep them strong. Brushing is a start, brushing with stylish sonic toothbrushes, even better. The little ones can start this tradition early, and what better way than with the fun and effective Rockee Kids Toothbrush?

 

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Fun Facts about the Tooth Fairy

Fun Facts about the Tooth Fairy

The legend of the Tooth Fairy is one of the most popular and iconic childhood stories in the world. Unlike Santa Claus, the tooth fairy will leave children a gift only if they offer one of their baby teeth as an exchange – they don’t necessarily have to be good year round!
The tooth fairy has quite an elusive backstory. The majority of parents around the world do not know where this popular tradition began! Does it have a single origin, now embodied in the magical princess we know and love today? Let’s break down the myth and dig into some of the dainty details of the Tooth Fairy.

The Tooth Fairy is younger than you might have thought

 The Tooth Fairy is younger than you might have thought

The history of some of the world’s most popular childhood figures go back hundreds of years. In fact, Santa Claus can be traced all the way back to the birth of St. Nicholas around 280AD. The Easter Bunny, on the other hand, can be traced back to the 17th century with the arrival of German immigrants on North American soil. The Tooth Fairy, however, was not mentioned until the early 20th century in the Chicago Daily Tribune, when an article touched on the existence of the dainty Fairy in a “Household Hints” column back in September of 1908.
The Tooth Fairy was not popularized until 1927, when children’s author Esther Watkins Arnold wrote a play famously named – The Tooth Fairy.

Once again, the Vikings were there first

Once again, the Vikings were there first

The Vikings, who pioneered many of the expeditions that lead to the discovery of the new world, seem to have developed something similar to the modern Tooth Fairy as well.
Researching the 13th century Scandinavian myths and poetry, the Norse Eddas, historians were able to transcribe the Viking language and successfully reference something that the Vikings called tand-f é, or tooth fee. In these writings, they described a ritual that took place between the parents and the child, in which the mother would offer a small payment to the child in exchange for its first tooth.
It is believed that many Viking warriors wore their children’s teeth around their necks into battle, as they believed the teeth had magical powers that will protect them in battle and bestow courage in their hearts.

The Tooth Fairy comes in many forms across the world

The Tooth Fairy comes in many forms across the world

Believe it or not, the majority of baby-tooth traditions around the world are connected to rodents. So much so, that the tooth fairy can be a squirrel, a mouse or a rat, depending on the tradition and the nationality where the story was born. In Belgium and France, the Fairy is, in fact, a mouse that comes to collect not only baby teeth the kids leave out for him, but also morsels of cheese.
On the other hand, the Spanish El Ratoncito Perez was created by an author called Luis Coloma as a Tooth Fairy analog for the king of the Spanish empire, Alfonso XIII in the 19th century. EL Ratoncito Perez is to this day widely recognized in Spanish speaking countries around the world as the real Tooth Fairy.
The Tooth Fairy does remain an elusive modern-day concept, perhaps due to its diverse history and a lack of a unified story that would determine the true nature of the famous dental deity. However, cultural diversity is one of the things that makes for intriguing stories like these, and no matter where it comes from, and no matter the shape it embodies, the Tooth Fairy is, and will remain, one of the most thrilling magical creatures for children around the world.

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