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life cycle: birth

      The pregnant woman is defined as difficult, heavy, not empty, full, in a situation, etc. Until it is not obvious the pregnancy is kept in secret because it is believed that if people know that in the first days and months of the pregnancy the women can easily loose their babies.
      The pregnant woman usually does the entire house and field work if she can but there are also a lot of forbidden things which aim to make the birth easier, ensure a normal pregnancy, the health of the woman and the child. Those restrictions usually lack in rational explanations - the pregnant woman should not kill a snake, should not eat rabbit meat, should not kick a cat or a dog, should not look at an icon for a long period ( in some places this restriction has the opposite meaning - the woman should look at icons so that the newly-born is beautiful), etc.
      In many parts of the country it is considered that the pregnant woman brings bad luck, that is why she should not jump over the thill of the cart (this would be dangerous for the oxen), the hunters do not bring their game in her house because their rifles may go bad, etc. In other regions she is considered a bringer of happiness and luck.
      The woman who has given birth is called - a woman in child-birth, a lying-in woman and a young mother and the birth - gaining and yield. The act of giving birth was kept in secret. The pregnant woman is isolated in a basement, a sheep pan or a barn and no one takes care of her as it comes to comfort and hygiene. They take care of her only if the delivery is complicated - the woman drinks the water that her husband used to wash his hands and a tea from a special herb. When she gives birth at her home the navel string is cut with a reaping-hook by the grandmother (who helps in the delivery of the baby) and the first diaper is the shirt of the father.
      There is a common fear that on the third day after the birth the young mother may be overrun by navjatsi. The bed is encircled by a rope as a protection from the navjatsi, a broom or some onions are left nearby, the place is incensed, etc. The mother and the child are completely isolated after sun set - the doors and the windows are closed so that no light could come out. All those precautions are taken in the next forty days.
      The mother and the child are considered to be under the protection of the Mother of God (she stands nearby during the delivery) and there is a ritual to knead bread for the God's Mother.
      The newly-born is first put over the fireplace so that it grows healthy. The next thing is the breast-feeding (a sieve that has bread and onions is held over the head of the mother and two loaves of bread are put under her shoulders so that the child could always be well nourished). They put herbs that bring health, a silver coin and an egg in the water of the first bath. A typical thing is the putting of salt over the baby on the third day after its birth, done so that its sweat will not smell bad.
      The young mother is considered unclean and that is why she does not touch the fire, she should not go near water springs or wells should not wash the diapers for some time, should not knead bread for a month after the birth. It is believed that if something is taken out of the house that has a newly-born in it the milk of the mother may get dry.
      One of the solemn after-birth rituals is the so called second bread.
      On the fortieth day after the birth the mother goes to a purging prayer along with the child and the grandmother.
      It is believed that the weird sisters come on the third night after the birth - the fortune predicted by them could not be swept away.
      The baptizing is among the most important family holidays (ten days after the birth). The ritual takes place in the church and the most important people are the grandmother and the god-mother.
      There are rituals connected to the different important moments in the life of the child up to the years of its wedding - the first tooth, the first step, the first work that he does by himself, etc.