Kids in Armenia start thinking about their careers at a extremely young age — about six months or so.
When an infant’s very first tooth arrives, typically in 4 to seven months, a celebration takes place known variously as the “agra hadig” or “atam hatik.”
As part of the ritual, objects symbolizing various professions are arrayed in front of a kid: a microphone for an entertainer, a stethoscope for a medical doctor, scissors for a tailor or money for a banker. Whichever object the infant chooses first is thought to be a sign of exactly where the child’s expert aptitude lies.
With the appearance of teeth, a child can begin to consume solid food, and the acquisition of this skill is believed to be a propitious time to foretell what the future holds, said Yulia Antonyan, a professor in the department of cultural research at Yerevan State University in Armenia’s capital.
There are no obligatory objects, but sets available for acquire will usually include classic artisan tools and choices epitomizing a far more modern day lifestyle. Parents are free of charge to add to or omit from the mix as they want.
“Parents could orchestrate the future life of their offspring by deciding on only these objects that symbolize prestigious and desired professions,” Professor Antonyan said. “A book for a scientist or writer a pencil for an architect, designer or artist a calculator for an accountant.”
Parents can also game the selection by positioning objects nearer to or farther from their infant’s attain. At one particular current ceremony, “the father of the infant asked to spot a ladle a bit far from his daughter to save her from a destiny of a housewife,” Professor Antonyan stated.
At the foundation of the ritual, and reflected in its names, is a magical association amongst teeth (agra or atam) and grain (hadig or hatik), according to Professor Antonyan.
The ceremony starts by pouring different cereal grains over and about the kid. Typically but not constantly, the baby’s head is protected by a piece of fabric, a pair of hands or at times even an umbrella.
The ritual sprinkling is thought to ensure that the youngster will have healthful, even teeth. It could also have fertility associations, akin to throwing rice at a wedding, according to Levon Abrahamian, a cultural anthropologist in Yerevan.
Today, teeth-shaped cakes, toys, candy and balloons are common celebration favors at these celebrations, which are widely practiced in Armenia and across the Armenian diaspora.
In the earliest written references to the ritual, from the 19th century, just two objects have been place prior to the teething child. The prediction then was not about an adult profession but the sex of the subsequent sibling: Grasping a knife meant a brother was on the way, a comb (or mirror) a sister.
“The divination for the future profession was created considerably later in the urbanized and modernized atmosphere of Soviet Armenia and the diaspora,” Professor Antonyan stated, “when the future profession would decide the baby’s life.”