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Ears Pierced at Birth for Latin American Girls

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Latin American Girl’s Ears Pierced at Birth

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico- “I have never seen my girls without earrings,” a mother of two once explained to me in Antigua. She said that she would bring a set of earrings in with her to the hospital as she went into labor and then pass them off to the nurse. When her babies returned to her after being extracted, spanked, and washed down, they would already be sporting earrings in their little wobbly heads.

This seemed to be a common affair: newborn baby girls in Latin America get their ears pieced right after being shot out from their mother’s undersides. Their umbilical cords are cut, they are taken away to be washed, and their ears are pierced with little shiny studs — all before being placed into their mother’s arms for the first time.

Mexican baby with ears pierced

Mexican baby with ears pierced

I must admit that I have never really looked at other babies before I had my own. I traveled the world and I don’t think I have ever really acknowledged any babies anywhere — well, except for a two year old boy that I watched smack the shit out of his grandpa in China one year. Funny stuff. But when I first began traveling with my brand new daughter, Petra, in Latin America I noticed something:

I began noticing babies. I noticed that many little girl babies already have their ear’s pierced. I found this an interesting state of affairs, as many of these little girls were too young to even stand up, speak, or do anything other than shit and gurgle — but they were decked out with sparkling bling dangling from their ears.

Dominican Republic baby with pierced ears

Dominican Republic baby with pierced ears

How was it that a 6 month old baby could have its ears pierced? Did the mother take it to the mall and try to set the wobbly little thing up in the boutique piercer’s chair to have its ears blasted?

No, these piercing are done at birth.

Like my friend in Antigua, many mothers throughout Latin America have never seen their own daughters without earrings. Baby girls often come with pierced ears in Latin America. I suppose it is only fair for the girl’s to get their ear’s pierced at birth if the boys must be circumcised. It is only a pity that the boy’s birth-right modification does not end up looking as pretty.

Young girl in Guatemala with pierced ears

Young girl in Guatemala with pierced ears

As I walk through the streets of Latin America, I take it for granted that the little girls will have their ears pierced — it is not a choice, it is culture. I made a gest to my wife about getting Petra’s ears pierced when she was around 8 months old. My wife said no way, that needs to be a decision she has to make for herself when she is older.

Perhaps she was on to something: piercing a baby’s ears at birth is a lot different than at 8 months. Just as removing the foreskin is probably also better done right after being born. I could only imagine Petra pulling and tugging at a new set of earrings at this age, which would have been much different when she was a new born who did not even really know yet how to move her arms.

El Salvador baby with pierced ears

El Salvador baby with pierced ears

If you are going to pierce a little kid’s ears, birth is probably not a bad time to do it — as the little know-nothings are so shocked at being in the world that a fresh set of shiny earrings are probably the least of their worries. So the piercings are probably not often manipulated, and probably heal pretty easily.

Earrings just seem to be a part of the Latin American woman, they are truly not an additional accessory — they are there from birth.

Baby in El Salvador with pierced ears

Baby in El Salvador with pierced ears

Little girl with pierced ears in Latin America

Little girl with pierced ears in Latin America

Baby girls in Latin America have pierced ears from birth

Related articles: Fashion perplexes me again | Moroccan women’s clothing | Hungarian women’s fashion

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Filed under: Central America, Culture and Society, Mexico

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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