The including Malaysia and Indonesia has always been a region that has high regards to placenta. Placenta is considered as pure symbol of spirit, life and individuality.
The Indonesians believe placenta is the elder sibling or the twin of a newborn baby. For them, the placenta is there to serve as the baby’s guardian all through the baby’s life. Hence, according to the traditional beliefs of the Malay Indonesians, placentas need to be buried and not disposed other ways. As a matter of fact, prayers and rituals may even be conducted when burying the placenta. Before this, the placenta needs to be placed in a clean bowl and properly washed. If not, the baby will fall ill.
In Malaysia, the mother, baby and placenta have a special place in the Malay culture. The placenta must be handled with proper care and needs to be buried with the umbilical cord together at the doorway of the child’s house. Prior to this, both the placenta and the umbilical cord will be cleansed thoroughly and then placed in the clothe with several spices, salt, tamarind, onions and even needles, books and pencils! This is done to ensure the child will grow up to be a hardworking and smart person.
The burial must be conducted before or after the 12 noon mark. If these items are buried at 12 noon sharp, tradition holds that the new born baby will grow up to be very stubborn. On the other hand, the placenta must not be buried too deep as burying it deep within the ground will delay the child’s speech learning.
In our next posting, we will share the ancient culture of China regarding the treatment of placenta.