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American Tooth Fairy

toothfairy

For a short time during childhood, most American children believe in fairies. Not the type that sprinkle glitter or magical dust over your head, but ones that deliver shiny coins. When an American child loses a tooth, he or she places it under a pillow at night with the hope the "tooth fairy" will find it and leave coins behind. Apparently the coins are now replaced with dollars, as my nephew Aidan just lost his first front tooth and woke up to find $5 under his pillow!

I thought the tooth fairy was a worldwide tradition, but my Spanish friend told me that they have a mouse named Ratoncito Perez instead. It's customary for Spanish children to put a lost tooth under the pillow and the mouse takes it, leaving small gifts behind. In China, children bury their lower teeth in the ground and toss the upper teeth on the roof of a house. This is supposed to ensure that the adult teeth grow straight up and down. In some Middle Eastern countries, the first lost tooth is thrown into the sky as a present for Allah.

What do Russian children do? Did you know about the tooth fairy? I think it's always interesting to read and learn about folklore in other countries, especially as it pertains to childhood. This is the most magical and joyous time, when the mind is overly imaginative and curious. Pity that so many people lose these qualities as the teenage and adult years approach...

Comments

( 89 comments — Leave a comment )
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notabler
Sep. 22nd, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC)
I never heard about her before coming to UK
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
What is the tradition in Lithuania? This is where you grew up, correct? I know it was under Soviet times.

Edited at 2014-09-22 02:46 pm (UTC)
Re: - notabler - Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
gella_key
Sep. 22nd, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
It's a pity, but we have absolutely no customs and beliefs connected with children's teeth, left today. More so, instead we have a rather bararian tradition to help children get rid of teeth that are about to fall out, but yet don't come out -- parents usually tie a tread to such tooth and another end of it is tied to a door's handle. Then the door is pulled roughly and the tooth is pulled out this way. Sorry for such horrifying details, but that was the reality of our childhood. Now I think parents prefer to turn to a dentist. I hope so)).
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, sounds painful and torturous! My nephew's tooth became so loose that it fell out on its own. I think only in rare situations is a tooth pulled when it first becomes loose, or by a dentist. Most of the time, parents wait until the tooth is very, very loose and isn't so hard to pull out. I had to have oral surgery when I was young because my jaw line was not wide enough, in order to make room for all of my teeth. And, I wore braces as a teenager. :)
(no subject) - gella_key - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gella_key - Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gella_key - Sep. 23rd, 2014 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
It's great to have such gap: - xpo_xpo_xpo - Sep. 24th, 2014 01:47 am (UTC) - Expand
a_nimaida
Sep. 22nd, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
we have the cult of teeth
In your opinion, this proves that there is no Russian fairy tales?
 

By the way, I do not understand what is the connection between "happiness" and the reason for departure to another country? For me, your comparison remains a mystery.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
No, I never said there are no Russian fairy tales. I just didn't know if Russian children have any customs when teeth fall out. I only know about Ded Moroz at Christmas. What other Russian fairy tales are there? Enlighten me. :)

Regarding happiness and departure from another country in the other post, it was not a general statement about everyone. I was just asking about your friend, that's all. For me, YES, the country in which I live plays ONE role in my happiness. For instance, if I was living in a tropical or extremely hot climate all the time, my mood and happiness level would definitely be altered. I can't stand hot weather and bright sunshine, and would not happy living in a place where temps are around 30 - 40 Celsius all year round. Everyone is different, so if you can be happy living in any climate or environment, then good for you. But this is not the case for me.
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Sep. 23rd, 2014 09:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Don't go to law school :) - xpo_xpo_xpo - Sep. 24th, 2014 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Don't go to law school :) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 24th, 2014 01:53 am (UTC) - Expand
andrey_kaminsky
Sep. 22nd, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
Из чудес только добрая мумия Ленина
Fairies, who are engaged in the trade of elephant tusks and those who, after the disappearance of mammoths, switched to baby teeth's petty trade, the whole capitalist fuss weakly coupled with my marxist childhood:(
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Из чудес только добрая мумия Ленина
I've never been able to view mummy Lenin during any of my visits to Moscow. :(( This is a real spectacle, and I'm highly disappointed. The mausoleum has always been closed. Why do you equate the tooth fairy with capitalism??
sineglazzka2301
Sep. 22nd, 2014 04:08 pm (UTC)
There were no tradition connected with lost teeth until very recently, when children raised on American cartoons, started to demand money for their teeth. My younger tried to:) Modern Russian culture is very susceptible to foreign customs (like Halloween or St'Valentine's day)
But we do have some authentic folklore characters, from fairy tales. Like Baba-Yaga, for example.
What my kids still half-believe, is that a tiny magic creature may live at home, who is either kind or wicked. It may help you find lost things, if you ask him. It is called "domovoy" (a brownie? a house elf?). And in banya (Russian sauna) there lives bannik:)
girlspell
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:12 pm (UTC)
Is that the witch that lives in a house with chicken feet? I'm not originally from eastern Europe, but a friend of mine who was a child with me told me about her. I was so scared!
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girlspell - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 10:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - inescher - Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
yarowind
Sep. 22nd, 2014 04:12 pm (UTC)
In my childhood was not such folklore :)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC)
What about other childhood folklore during Soviet times? Do you remember any?
(no subject) - yarowind - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yarowind - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
pin_gwin
Sep. 22nd, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)
It's nice tradition here
It makes it easier for kids to overcome the minor inconvenience that goes along with that as there will be something good given for it. I had to make couple of quick trips to Walmart to get a gift at midnight, than we bought some small toys for spare... What is hard to accept is that moment when they finally figure out the truth. It feels like first step to adulthood when they are becoming more distant from from us, parents.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC)
Re: It's nice tradition here
This weekend, I was talking about the tooth fairy with one of my younger cousins. She told me she once put her tooth under the pillow when she was young, but didn't tell her parents the tooth had fallen out. She knew immediately the tooth fairy was imaginary when the damn tooth sat there for over a week, and no coins came. Smart girl to test the legitimacy of childhood folklore. :))
Re: It's nice tradition here - pin_gwin - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
mybathroom
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't say about all Russian, but we know the tooth fairy in our family! But we didn't know about Spanish mouse - thank you!
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC)
And your son has put the tooth under the pillow and received some rubles? I think it's a fun, harmless game for kids to play.
(no subject) - mybathroom - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mybathroom - Sep. 23rd, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
elena_88888
Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
I heard first time, perhaps, somewhere fifteen years ago about it. But when I was young my grandma told that it's necessary to drop a milk tooth behind a fireplace and tell "Mouse, mouse, take this fibre tooth and give me bone tooth" (here fibre the same as from trees like lime-tree, for example). But we lived in town and perhaps due to that it was impossible to drop... ;-))

And sweets for a tooth it's a right way to dentist again - so this fairy was invented by dentists :-))
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)
I don't like mice, not even Mickey Mouse! :)) Leaving sweets behind or near the pillow is not an American tradition, so European dentists must have created this version of the tooth fairy. :)
inescher
Sep. 22nd, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
In my family there was a story about little mouse who picked the tooth and leave a coin.
I remember how I found my first 15 copeyka's coin under my pillow. :)
My kids of course know about tooth fairy but my nephew in Ukraine believes that in a little mice. :)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 07:37 pm (UTC)
I didn't know about this little mouse leaving coins or sweets until my friend from Spain told me about it. It seems to be a tradition in many parts of the world. She had never heard of the tooth fairy! So, we both learned something new. :) I also remember the excitement of finding coins under my pillow as a child! :)
(no subject) - inescher - Sep. 22nd, 2014 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - inescher - Sep. 22nd, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
alsh4ka
Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
No fairies(((( My Mum told me to eat apples (антоновка), it's easier to loose teaths this way)))
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
What did you do with the tooth after it fell out? :)) In America, most parents keep at least the first baby tooth as a momento. Usually, the first tooth is placed in some type of memory box. Some parents also keep a lock of hair from the baby's first haircut, and put it in boxes like this:
 photo box_zpsf55d8e30.jpg

Edited at 2014-09-22 08:45 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - alsh4ka - Sep. 22nd, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Sep. 22nd, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
No, we don't have anything related to teeth.
My son probably believes in Ded Moroz (at least he likes to receive presents :) )
I believed in Baba Yaga
en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Baba_Yaga

But mostly I invented my own tales :)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
When Aidan was very young and first learned to talk, he always spoke about the same two imaginary friends. At first I thought it was so strange, but then doctors told my sister it's completely normal for kids to do this. I think it's mainly because he was surrounded only by adults until he started pre-school. Before that, he didn't have much contact with kids his own age. Once he started school, the imaginary friends went away. :) I don't remember inventing tales as a kid, but maybe because I had a younger sister to play with and keep me entertained.
takoynickzanyat
Sep. 22nd, 2014 10:18 pm (UTC)
i believe not in tooth but in socks fairy as this woman always steals one of my socks
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
I think the sock fairy exists in all countries. :)) I'm always losing one sock from the pair, especially when I do laundry!
left_bank
Sep. 23rd, 2014 04:12 am (UTC)
In my childhood there wasn't any Tooth Fairy, but my daughter had already a coin from her. :) Actually last years we have adopted some holidays and customs from USA like Halloween and Tooth Fairy. I think there is not any badly of it because it is funny and makes our life a bit more vibrant.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 23rd, 2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
I didn't think Halloween is widely celebrated in Russia? Do kids go trick or treating to neighbor's homes for candy?
(no subject) - left_bank - Sep. 23rd, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 23rd, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
It's well known that... - xpo_xpo_xpo - Sep. 24th, 2014 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It's well known that... - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 24th, 2014 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
addiska
Sep. 23rd, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
When I was a child I gave my lost teeth to a mouse without any present from it in return. It was just so, to leave a tooth somewhere in the house and a mouse would come and take it. And it was magic when you woke up and didn't find the tooth where you had left it.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 23rd, 2014 02:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the simple joys of childhood! At that age, we all believe in some form of magic. :)
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