The circle of life continues. One of our grand children lost her first front tooth. However, she lost it on a visit to Canada. A text storm ensued as my daughter wondered what she should do about the tooth fairy. Should the tooth fairy know that they were in Canada or should they wait for the return home? Should they give the child a Canadian loonie or American coins? So many questions and so much fun as the next generation encounters the next stage of growing up.
We were delighted that our grand daughter drew us a picture of the event and even captured her new old pink dress that her grandma unearthed from storage. Our daughter had worn the dress when she was young and what was old is new again. The pink dress was excited to have high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.
As our long distance conversation of possibilities continued, I got to wondering where the tradition of the tooth fairy came from.
“The tooth fairy is an iconic symbol of childhood, the same way we fondly remember Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny, we look back on the Tooth Fairy with fond memories. Unlike the other two mythological heroes of modern folklore, the Tooth Fairy exists across religion and culture in many anglo-based societies. But where did this sprightly sprite originate, and just how long have we believed in her magic?
The Tooth Fairy as we know it is a relatively recent creation, like other myths, evolved over time. There are traditions, legends and myths dating back millennia with regards to loosing your baby teeth.
Early Norse and European traditions suggest that when a child lost a baby tooth, it was buried to spare the child from hardships in the next life. A tradition of the tand-fe or tooth fee originated in Europe for a child’s first tooth, and vikings used children’s teeth and other items from their children to bring them good luck in battle.
There’s also the more general tradition of a good fairy in Europe that was birthed out of fairy tales and popular literature in more recent times. Ultimately the most popular version of a ‘tooth deity’ is the image of a mouse, who would enter children’s rooms and remove baby teeth. This tradition is prominent in Russia, Spain and many Asian countries like China.
Ultimately, the reason the tooth fairy legend continues to grow and evolve across cultures is that it provides a level of comfort to children. As you grow, your body undergoes many changes, but arguably the first and most traumatic for children is the loss of a tooth or two. The tooth fairy helps bring comfort and excitement to a traumatic experience.”
Which got me to wondering again, if the tooth ferry is good enough for a child’s “first trauma” shouldn’t we have something this comforting for adult traumas. While the trauma fairy doesn’t sound all that inviting, and the notion of God seems too big for a personal trauma, shouldn’t we invent an adult trauma fairy?
I feel the smile welling up within me as I think about reaching under my pillow and finding a gold coin (inflation sets in for adults, of course). What a comfort that coin would be.